July 12, 2011
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Former University of Notre Dame women’s rower Amanda Polk notched two more international race victories this past week, claiming first at the Henley Royal Regatta (July 1-3) before winning gold at the Lucerne World Cup on Sunday (July 10). The gold medal in Lucerne, which came as a member of the United States women’s eight boat, now gives her four in international competition with the U.S. team.
Polk raced as a member of the Princeton Training Center women’s eight boat at the Henley Royal Regatta, taking part in The Remenham Challenge Cup, an eight-team, single-elimination draw. After winning their opening race in easy fashion over Princeton University, the crew advanced into the finals with a four-and-a-half length victory over Leander Club and Reading University in the semifinals. Polk’s crew did not flinch in the finals, holding off the Leander Club and Gloucester Rowing Club by one-and-three-quarter lengths for the title.
Polk and her women’s eight crew then moved on to the Lucerne World Cup, keeping up their torrid racing in capturing the gold medal over Canada and the Netherlands, who finished in second and third, respectively. The Americans qualified for the grand final after finishing first in heat two of qualifiers, crossing the line at 6:05.43 to hold off Romania (6:08.02) and Great Britain (6:08.35). Poland rounded out the heat in fourth with a mark of 6:28.15.
In the grand final, the U.S. boat found itself behind Canada from the starting block all the way through the 1,500-meter mark before making a charge down the stretch. Trailing by 1.81 seconds with 500 meters remaining, Polk and the rest of the crew erased the deficit and pulled ahead for a one second victory, crossing at 6:28.35. The Canadian boat crossed second at 6:29.41 with the Netherlands grabbing the bronze at 6:31.73.
Polk remains the standard in Notre Dame rowing with her accomplishments in the water from 2004-08. She is the only Irish rower to be named a Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association (CRCA) All-American four-times, including three years on the first team. She also was named a CRCA All-Central Region first-team honoree all four years at Notre Dame, while being named to the BIG EAST All-Academic team twice for her accomplishments in the classroom.
During her era in South Bend, the Irish achieved unprecedented success by earning back-to-back berths in the NCAA Championships. In `06, in the program’s first-ever appearance in the team competition, Notre Dame grabbed a ninth-place finish, and followed that up with a 12th-place finish in `07. Her ’06 varsity eight crew won the Petite Final at the NCAA Championships after winning the gold medal at the Central/South Sprints and finished fifth in the final CRCA/US Rowing rankings. In ’07, Notre Dame finished in the top-10 of the national rankings with a sixth-place finish after placing third at the Central/South Sprints.