Polly Swann. Credit Nick Middleton

Polly Swann

Rower - Women's Squad
Date of Birth: 5th Jun 1988 (32 years old)
Club: Edinburgh University BC
Height: 185cm
Hometown: Edinburgh

Great Britain Rowing Logo

Intro

Polly Swann has been crowned as World and European Champion during her GB Rowing Team career.

In 2016, she became an Olympic silver medallist as part of the women’s eight at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

After taking a break to complete her medical degree, Polly returned to the GB squad in 2019 and claimed a bronze medal in the women’s pair alongside Holly Hill.

On The Water

Rio 2016 Olympiad: 2013 – 2016

Polly returned from injury at the start of the 2016 season and, after finishing runner-up in the women’s pair with Jess Eddie at the GB Rowing Team Trials, was selected in the women’s eight. She helped to secure an eye-catching gold at the European Championships in Brandenburg, with GB surging through to take the victory in a perfectly-judged race. Another thrilling late push at the Lucerne World Cup saw the GB eight go mighty close to overhauling the Olympic and World Champions from the United States and they won silver again at the World Cup in Poznan, this time behind New Zealand.

No British women’s eight had won an Olympic medal before but Polly and her crew-mates ended that wait at Rio 2016 as they took silver in a photo-finish after an epic race that featured another trademark surge through the field in the second half.

Polly started the Olympiad in the women’s pair with newly-crowned Olympic champion Helen Glover. They quickly forged a strong partnership and won World Cup gold in Sydney, Eton Dorney and Lucerne before claiming the World Championship title in convincing fashion in Chungju.

The 2014 season saw Polly win a superb European Championships gold with Helen in Belgrade before switching to the eight, where she won World Cup bronze in both Aiguebelette and Lucerne. The eight could not reproduce that fine form at the World Championships in Amsterdam, though, and had to settle for sixth place.

London 2012 Olympiad: 2009 – 2012

After winning gold medals at the European Universities Championships and Home International Regatta in 2009, Polly made her GB Rowing Team debut at the 2010 World U23 Championships in Brest. She finished just outside the medals in the women’s four, having won gold in that boat at the Amsterdam International Regatta and Henley Women’s Regatta.

Polly raced with the senior GB women’s eight at the 2011 Henley Royal Regatta, reaching the final of the Remenham Challenge Cup, and stayed in the boat for the European Championships in Plovdiv, finishing fourth.

Unfortunately, an injury ruled Polly out for the 2012 season.

GB Competitive Record
Year Event Position Boat
2019 World Rowing Championships
Linz Ottensheim, AUT
1 (FB Final) W4-
2019 World Rowing Cup III
Rotterdam, NED
Bronze W2-
2019 World Rowing Cup II
Poznan, POL
1 (FB Final) W4-
2016 Olympic Games Regatta
Rio de Janeiro, BRA
Silver W8+
2016 World Rowing Cup III
Poznan, POL
Silver W8+
2016 World Rowing Cup II
Lucerne, SUI
Silver W8+
2016 European Rowing Championships
Brandenburg, GER
Gold W8+
2014 World Rowing Championships
Amsterdam, NED
6 W8+
2014 World Rowing Cup III
Lucerne, SUI
Bronze W8+
2014 World Rowing Cup II
Aiguebelette, FRA
Bronze W8+
2014 European Rowing Championships
Belgrade, SRB
Gold W2-
2013 World Rowing Championships
Chungju, KOR
Gold W2-
2013 World Rowing Cup III
Lucerne, SUI
Gold W2-
2013 World Rowing Cup II
Eton, GBR
Gold W2-
2013 World Rowing Cup I
Sydney, AUS
4 W8+
2011 European Championships
Plovdiv, BUL
4 (F Final) W8+
2010 Under 23 World Rowing Championships
Brest, BLR
4 BW4-
Year:
2019
Event:
World Rowing ChampionshipsLinz Ottensheim, AUT
Position:
1 (FB Final)
Boat:
W4-
Year:
2019
Event:
World Rowing Cup IIIRotterdam, NED
Position:
Boat:
W2-
Year:
2019
Event:
World Rowing Cup IIPoznan, POL
Position:
1 (FB Final)
Boat:
W4-
Year:
2016
Event:
Olympic Games RegattaRio de Janeiro, BRA
Position:
Boat:
W8+
Year:
2016
Event:
World Rowing Cup IIIPoznan, POL
Position:
Boat:
W8+
Year:
2016
Event:
World Rowing Cup IILucerne, SUI
Position:
Boat:
W8+
Year:
2016
Event:
European Rowing ChampionshipsBrandenburg, GER
Position:
Boat:
W8+
Year:
2014
Event:
World Rowing ChampionshipsAmsterdam, NED
Position:
6
Boat:
W8+
Year:
2014
Event:
World Rowing Cup IIILucerne, SUI
Position:
Boat:
W8+
Year:
2014
Event:
World Rowing Cup IIAiguebelette, FRA
Position:
Boat:
W8+
Year:
2014
Event:
European Rowing ChampionshipsBelgrade, SRB
Position:
Boat:
W2-
Year:
2013
Event:
World Rowing ChampionshipsChungju, KOR
Position:
Boat:
W2-
Year:
2013
Event:
World Rowing Cup IIILucerne, SUI
Position:
Boat:
W2-
Year:
2013
Event:
World Rowing Cup IIEton, GBR
Position:
Boat:
W2-
Year:
2013
Event:
World Rowing Cup ISydney, AUS
Position:
4
Boat:
W8+
Year:
2011
Event:
European ChampionshipsPlovdiv, BUL
Position:
4 (F Final)
Boat:
W8+
Year:
2010
Event:
Under 23 World Rowing ChampionshipsBrest, BLR
Position:
4
Boat:
BW4-
More Info

Club: Edinburgh University BC
Boat: Women’s Squad
Role: Rower
Coaches: Paul Thompson
Learnt to Row: George Heriot’s School
Original Club(s): George Heriot’s School BC
Original Coach(es): Jim Wilkinson, James Harris

Beyond The Boat

Polly recently finished her medical degree (which took 13 years to complete). Her work and rowing schedules don’t leave her with a huge amount of free time, but in her year off after the 2016 Olympics she renovated her flat in Edinburgh which she described as ‘a bit of a love hate project’. On her to-do list currently is to learn how to play guitar, build her own house and to travel and experience different medical practice around the world.