NHS Return for Olympic Rower Polly Swann After Tokyo Games

Peter Russell

July 29, 2021

Polly Swann/PA Media

Olympic medal-winning rower Polly Swann will return to medical training after coming close to a podium finish in the Tokyo games.

She and her partner, the dual Olympic champion Helen Glover, finished fourth in the women's pairs final behind winners New Zealand, the Russian Olympic Committee, and third-placed Canada.

However, Swann said she still had her eye on another Olympic medal.

UK Sport praised the team's efforts, including 33-year-old Swann, "who juggled training with working as an NHS doctor during the pandemic", and said: “Neither woman needs a medal to prove they are superhuman and inspire the world."

Polly Swann graduated with a medical degree from the University of Edinburgh in 2019 before responding to an NHS call for support during the first wave of COVID-19.

NHS Borders Medical Education confirmed that Polly would be joining them next year as an FY1 following her return from Tokyo.

Second Olympics

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 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.

Polly Swann had "done the nation proud in her second Olympics", NHS Borders Medical Education tweeted this morning.

Swann told BBC Sport: "I think we always knew in the Olympic final people were going to go out hard.

"We thought we might have a bit more of a buffer, but it wasn’t to be."

She also said she was looking forward to returning to work for the NHS next week.
 

Olympic Comeback?

"It’s at Borders General Hospital and I'm looking forward to having a new team behind me and seeing what I can do," she said, adding that her team-mate may have inspired her to stage a later comeback.

"I’ve always been tempted to do a Helen Glover and do a bit of a rowing comeback. Maybe one year to work, one year to have a baby, one year to come back – we’ll see."

Helen Glover, who at 35 made history as the only mother to row for Team GB, praised Swann.

The mother of three, who gave birth to twins 18 months ago, tweeted: "SO proud to make the Olympic final and come home with 4th. Polly Swann has been the most incredible teammate and you've all been amazing support. Thank you!! Now can we invent a teleport machine to get me straight home to the little ones??"

Glover told reporters that she and Swann had given their all but were left with a mix of pride and frustration.

"The reward is knowing we crossed the line giving it our all, the frustration will be coming away thinking we had more and we didn’t," she said.

"Had it been a flat water day we would have expected to come through for that last place but it wasn’t.

"It was very hard to challenge in the final sprint but we still tried."

Glover also confirmed, as expected, that Tokyo would be her last Olympics.

This article contains information from PA Media.

Article image credit: PA Media.

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