Polly Swann

2017 inductee

Rower and Medical student Polly Swann became an Olympic silver medallist in 2016 at Rio when she was a member of the first ever British women’s eight boat to win an Olympic medal.

Polly was selected for the eight at the start of the season after finishing runner-up in the women’s pair at the GB rowing team trials. At the European Championships in Brandenburg, she helped secure a gold medal, and the eight also won silver at the Lucerne and the Poznan World Cup events.

In 2009 Polly won gold in the coxless pair and silver in the women’s eight at the European University Championships before making her GB debut the following year at the World U23 Championships in Brest, finishing a close fourth in the women’s four. That year, 2010, she took a sabbatical from her medical studies to focus on her rowing, returning to the University in 2016/17.

In 2013, paired with Helen Glover, she won gold at the World Championships before going on to complete a clean sweep of pairs wins in World Cup events at Penrith Lakes (Australia), Eton Dorney (London) and Lucerne Rostee (Switzerland). She and Helen Glover received the Chairman’s Award from the Sports Journalists’ Association in December 2013.

The pair topped off an unbeaten season with gold at the 2014 European Championships in Belgrade.

Thereafter, and while still enjoying a sabbatical from her medical studies, Polly’s focus was fixed solely on pursuing Olympic medal success, which she achieved so inspirationally and historically as part of Team GB’s silver medal winning eight at the Rio Games in August 2016.

Polly becomes the first matriculated student to be inducted into the University of Edinburgh’s Sports Hall of Fame.

Achievements since induction

Polly competed at her second Olympic Games at Tokyo 2020, narrowly missing out on a medal, finishing in 4th with partner Helen Glover. Polly also graduated, becoming Dr. Polly Swann, and worked (and continues to work) on the front line during the Coronavirus Pandemic.