Polk became the first Notre Dame Rowing alumna to earns an Olympic medal as part of the gold-medal winning U.S. Eight on Aug. 13, 2016. The Women’s Eight claimed its 11th consecutive World/Olympic Title, of which Polk has been a part of six.
Polk has been a member of the U.S. senior women’s rowing team from 2009-11 and from 2013-16. She also was a member of the U.S. U-23 team in 2008 and of the U.S. junior team in 2004. In 2013 she was part of the U.S. women’s eight boat that set the world record (5:54.16) at the World Rowing Cup.
A four-time All-American at Notre Dame, Polk finished her career as the most decorated rower in program history. She earned first-team All-America honors by the Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association (CRCA) following her sophomore, junior and senior seasons and was a second team honoree as a freshman. She served as a team captain in 2008 and was a key member of the 2006 varsity eight that earned Notre Dame’s first berth in the NCAA rowing championships, finishing seventh overall. She also led Notre Dame to BIG EAST Conference rowing championships in each of her final three seasons.
Read: Polk Rows To Rio
Read: U.S. Rowing Women’s Eight Wins third-straight Olympic gold
AS A SENIOR: Finishes her career as the most decorated rower in program history as a four-time All-American … team captain in 2008 … earned first-team All-America honors by the Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association (CRCA) for the third straight year … garnered first team CRCA All-Central Region honors for the fourth consecutive year … led the varsity eight at the Pac-10 Challenge to a first-place finish against UCLA (7:25.1) … helped the varsity eight crew place first at the Indiana Invite (6:25.0) … competed at the Charles River Challenge with the varsity eight finishing first in two of three races … her varsity eight crew captured the gold medal at the BIG EAST Championships for the third straight year with a time of 6:43.60 … helped the varsity eight place second in the Petite Finals of the Central/South Region Championships (6:47.70) … member of the varsity eight that split two races versus Michigan State … started the spring season with the varsity eight boat winning one of three races … rowed as a member of the second-place crew at Head of the Rock finishing in a time of 15:42.05…participated in the Cal-Sag Regatta finishing in eighth place (16:19.40) and later helped her team to a varsity eight final B victory with a winning time of 6:58.53 … four-year monogram winner … named to the BIG EAST Academic All-Star Team … named to U-23 World Championship Team in July 2008.
AS A JUNIOR: Copped first team All-America honors by the Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association (CRCA) for the second straight year while garnering CRCA all-Central Region first-team honors for the third consecutive year … rowed with the varsity eight crew for the third year at Notre Dame, helping the Irish reach the NCAA Championships for the second year in a row … reached the Petite Final in her second consecutive varsity eight boat competition at the NCAA Championships … placed third with varsity eight crew in the Grand Finals at the Central/South Region Championship (6:34.68) … picked up gold in varsity eight race for the second consecutive at the BIG EAST Championship for the second year in a row, recording a time of 6:31.85 in the Grand Finals to help the Irish to their second straight team conference title … secured another win for the varsity eight crew with a victory over Virginia, Princeton, and George Washington … swept varsity eight boat competition at the Windemere Classic, defeating California with a time of 7:04.46, Stanford with a time of 7:17.03, and UCLA with a time of 6:46.50 … placed second in varsity eight boat race with Clemson, Michigan State, and Michigan (6:54.40) … secured varsity eight crew’s first win of spring, defeating Alabama and Cincinnati with a time of 6:38.31 … rowed in three varsity eight races against Tennessee and Minnesota … won varsity four boat competition before placing fourth out of 24 entries in varsity eight boat competition at the Head of the Rock … three-time monogram winner.
AS A SOPHOMORE: Second-year member of varsity eight crew has established herself as one of the top rowers in the country … became second rower in Notre Dame history to earn first-team CRCA All-America honors in just second season … garnered first-team all-Central Region honors for the second consecutive year … led Notre Dame’s varsity eight boat to unprecedented success as crew finished fifth in final CRCA/US Rowing ranking … secured best-ever finish for a varsity eight boat at the NCAA Championships when her crew won the Petite Final by posting a time of 6:47.54 as Notre Dame finished seventh overall and ninth in team competition … won first race of the spring season at the Lubbers Cup with a time of 6:25.44 … helped crew to best-ever fourth-place in Grand Final of Jessop-Whittier Cup race at San Diego Crew Classic with a time of 6:58.66 … took two of three races at Indiana Classic … won gold medal by winning Grand Final at BIG EAST Championship in 6:39.62 that propelled Irish to third straight conference title … won Grand Final at Central/South Region Championship for first-ever victory in varsity eight race at that event as the Notre Dame took the title with a time of 6:26.00 … raced to a 10th-place finish in the fall opener at the season-opening regatta in the piece one race … finished eighth in the piece two competition in a time of 10:11.00 … sat in the two seat and collected a ninth place finish in the piece three race … captured a third-place finish in the open eight at the Head of the Rock coming in at a time of 15:57.58 … clocked in at 14:23.8, good enough for fourth place in the open eight at the Notre Dame Invitational … impressive second place finish at the Head of the Elk in the open eight race (14:29.23).
AS A FRESHMAN: Earned her first monogram with the Irish…member of the varsity eight crew during the 2004-2005 season … first Irish rookie to earn All-American honors when named to the 2005 Second Team Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association (CRCA) All-America … only third rower in Notre Dame history to earn All-American honors … 2005 First-Team All-Region Selection by the CRCA … BIG EAST Academic All-Star … finished the season in third place in the Petite Finals of the Central/South Region Sprints, only 3.50 seconds behind the winner, Minnesota … second at the BIG EAST Championships … came in third against Harvard and Yale … defeated Cincinnati … second place versus Louisville and Indiana and first place against Indiana and Purdue in a time of 6:56.8 … finished second in the Jessop-Whittier Cup Petite Final of the San Diego Crew Classic … placed third versus Tennessee and Michigan State. In her first fall race with the Irish, finished third out of 39 boats with a time of 16:01.24 with the open eight crew at the Head of the Rock … notched another third-place finish in the open four-a, sitting bow seat, with a time of 16:56.3 at the Head of the Elk … placed fifth in the open eight-a (15:30.5) at the Head of the Elk.
PREP AND PERSONAL: Member of the 2004 U.S. Junior Women’s National Rowing team that attended the Junior World Rowing Championships in Banyoles, Spain … had an illustrious rowing career at Oakland Catholic High School in Pittsburgh, Pa. … earned three letters during her high school career (one in basketball and two in rowing) … earned national rankings in rowing three times during her career and was undefeated her senior season … Midwest Champions in the novice four as a freshman and again in the varsity four as a senior … set all-time record at Oakland Catholic with a time of 7:08 … served as team caption of the basketball team her senior season … basketball team was regional champions her sophomore year and state champions her junior year … attended same high school as teammate Meg Boyle … one of five children … parents are Kenneth and Joann Polk … born Aug. 2, 1986 in Pittsburgh, Pa. … graduated with a degree in biochemistry from the College of Science.