Kate Bertko, one of the United States’ most decorated lightweight rowers and a 2016 Olympian, has been hired as the head coach of the two-time defending national champion Stanford lightweight rowing program, Stanford’s Director of Athletics Bernard Muir announced Friday.
“We are thrilled to hire Kate to take over as the head coach of our lightweight rowing program,” Muir said. “She is an accomplished rower that has excelled at the grandest stage and is very well-regarded within the rowing community. Both Al and Derek built a championship-level lightweight rowing program here at Stanford and we believe, under Kate’s leadership, the Cardinal possesses all the qualities to continue to compete at the highest level.”
“I want to thank Bernard Muir, Patrick Dunkley and Jamie Breslin for the opportunity to be part of the Stanford family,” Bertko said. “Stanford lightweight rowing has a long history of success, academically and athletically, and I am honored to be part of this tradition."
In the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Bertko competed in the United States lightweight women’s double sculls, leading the U.S. entry a 10th place finish.
“As a part of the interview process I met with a number of the student-athletes and was impressed by their maturity and dedication,” Bertko said. “I am very excited to begin working with this amazing group of women. Stanford student-athletes are an exceptional group and I respect and value the importance of supporting their academic and athletic experiences.”
A four-time medalist on the international level, Bertko captured the silver medal in the lightweight women’s double sculls at the 2013 World Championships and the bronze medal in the lightweight women’s single sculls at both the 2014 and 2015 World Championships.
She also led the U.S. to the silver medal in the women’s open quadruple sculls at the 2009 World Championships. She has competed in six World Championship regattas overall, also representing the U.S. in 2010 and 2011. She also set a course record, en route to a gold medal in the single sculls at the 2013 Head of the Charles.
Bertko’s coaching experience includes positions at California, Princeton and at the junior level with the Oakland Strokes. She served as an assistant coach at California during the 2007 season, coaching the varsity four to a bronze medal at the 2007 NCAA Championships.
She has also served various roles on the coaching staffs at both Princeton (Winter 2008 and 2009), and the national junior rowing program, the Oakland Strokes.
In addition to her rowing and coaching background, the Oakland native also has taken a lead role in a number of extensive postgraduate research initiatives that has led to publication in several medical journals.
Bertko earned her Bachelor of Arts in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Princeton in 2006. During her time as a standout collegiate rower, the Tigers captured the varsity eight NCAA Championship in 2006 and took home the silver in the 2005 NCAA regatta. Bertko was also honored with the prestigious Class of 1983 Award.