LOUISVILLE, Ky. – University of Louisville rowing head coach Derek Copeland has announced the hiring of Olympic rower Sarah Zelenka as assistant coach with the Cardinals.
A three-year member of the USRowing national team, Zelenka rowed to a fourth-place finish last week in the women’s pair event at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
“Sarah is a fantastic athlete and has been an even better teammate,” said Copeland. “I am sure that she will bring those same contributions to our team, and we are all very excited about that. Her character and passion to help others reach their potential has been evident for years. I am very happy that we are able to bring her in to add to the excitement that has been brewing here during the off-season. This team has the passion and ability to do great things, and Sarah will help show them the path.”
A native of Itasca, Ill., Zelenka has been a member of the USRowing senior national team during the last two years and was a member of the U-23 team in 2009. As a member of USRowing, she won a gold medal in the four at the 2011 World Rowing Championships. Her rowing accolades also include a first-place finish in the pair at the 2012 Olympic Trials and winning gold medals in the four and eight at the 2010 Rowing World Cup.
“I am so excited to become a part of the Louisville community,” said Zelenka. “The reputation of the Cardinal athletic department is second to none and it is a great privilege to be joining their family. Derek has shared his passion for the sport of rowing with me and I am looking forward to assisting on his coaching staff. I hope to be a positive influence on these student-athletes and help push them to new levels.”
Zelenka is a 2009 graduate of Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Mich., with a degree in health professions. After starting her rowing career in 2005 at Grand Valley State, she was named team MVP in 2008 and 2009.