Oakland Catholic grad prepares for role as alternate on U.S. Rowing Team

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PITTSBURGH —

Pittsburgh's three rivers provided a solid training ground for one local Olympian.

Amanda Polk got her start rowing while a student at Oakland Catholic, and that's when Channel 11's Bill Phillips first met her.

"Well I definitely think it's going to be hard," she said at the time of trying to make the National Junior Team. "It's not going to be easy. I'm willing to put everything I have out every day. I'm just going to take one day at time, one practice at a time and hope for the best."

Fast forward nine years, and Polk is now an alternate for the U.S. Women's Olympic Rowing Team.

"To be honest, when you spoke to me then I had no idea what I was getting myself into, I did not think it would be this far," Polk told Phillips.

Polk's journey to the Olympics took her to Notre Dame, where she was a four time All-American.

With the national team she has won gold at the Worlds on a number of occasions, and she set a world record in the heat in eight at the Samsung 2012 World Rowing Cup II.

Now she is off to the Olympics as the team's alternate.

She's the back-up for all of the team's boats.

"It's a once in a lifetime opportunity and I'm very grateful for getting that chance," she said.

Polk is getting used to her celebrity status, which will only grow if she helps capture gold in London.

"I am completely humbled and shocked to be honest. Pittsburgh is awesome. I mean the fans are awesome, the rowing association, Three Rivers association, it's been great. It definitely makes me feel like a little bit of a celebrity, thank you Pittsburgh," she said

The rowing competition begins July 28.