Mandi Kowal Bio - Hawkeye Sports Official Athletic Site
Women's Rowing
Mandi Kowal
Mandi Kowal

Head Coach

17th Season at Iowa

Alma Mater:
University of Wisconsin, 1987


Hawkeyes Place 7th at Big Ten Championships

Annemarie Bernhard named All-Big Ten First Team


24 Hawkeyes to Watch: Annemarie Bernhard

UI sophomore has a drive to get better


Hawkeyes Set For Big Ten Championships

Action is set to start at 9 a.m.


Hawkeyes Set For Big Ten Championships

Action is set to start at 9 a.m.


Hawkeyes Advance 3 boats to Grand Final

Iowa's Varsity 8, 2nd Varsity 8 and Varsity 4 advanced to the grand final at the Big East Invite

Mandi Kowal, a member of the United States National Rowing Team for five years ('83, '84, `86-'88), enters her 17th season as the head rowing coach for the University of Iowa.


Kowal has headed the Hawkeyes since the team's elevation to varsity status in 1994. After two solid spring seasons at Iowa, Kowal's Varsity four was invited to the first-ever NCAA Rowing Championships in 1997. The Varsity 4+ finished the season fourth in the country. In 1998, the Hawkeyes' Varsity 4+ returned to the NCAA Championships, ending their season with an eighth-place finish. Kowal's Hawkeyes have continued to make strides nationally. In fact, Iowa has had crews ranked in the top-20 every year the polls have been in existance. The Varsity 8+ finished the 1999 spring season ranked 17th in the country and 18th in the spring of 2000. In 2001, Kowal coached the Hawkeyes to their first-ever team appearance at the NCAA Championships, where Iowa finished ninth. The Varsity 8+ boat also received a national ranking of No. 10, it's highest ever ranking. During the 2002 spring season, the Varsity 8+ was named Big Ten Boat of the Week March 25. The Hawkeyes posted an undefeated Spring 2003 Dual Season record for the Varsity 8+ and finished fourth at the Big Ten Championships, where they won the Second Varsity 4+, and won a silver medal in the Second Varsity 8+ and the Varsity 4+. Another Hawkeye Varsity 8+ boat was named Big Ten Boat of the Week in 2007 on April 10. The athletes recieved this honor after a stunning three-tenths of a second win over George Washington. Last season Iowa placed sixth in the Big Ten Championships, while the novice eights earned a bronze medal. Kowal began her coaching career at the University of Wisconsin, where she served as the novice coach for seven years. While coaching the Badgers, she led her team to one gold and three silver medals at the Collegiate National Rowing Championships and 10 Midwest Rowing Championship titles. Her Novice 4+ won the national title in 1993 and placed second in '91, '92 and '94. In addition to her collegiate coaching duties, Kowal was the assistant lightweight coach for the US National Pre-Elite squad for three years, winning four gold and three silver medals at Elite Nationals. Kowal coached the Junior National Team 4- to a gold medal at the Junior World Rowing Championships in Zagreb, Croatia in 2000. She spent the summer in Seattle, WA as the assistant coach, working with the 8+ and the 4-. Kowal concentrated most on the race preparations for the 4-, and has earned three World Championship gold medals in straight 4 events (two as an athlete, one as a coach). In 2001, she coached the Junior Women's 4- to a silver medal at the Junior World Championships in Duisburg, Germany. In the summer of 2005, Kowal was an assistant coach for the United States Under-23 team.


Kowal began her rowing career at the University of Wisconsin in 1981 while pursing a B.S. in Physical Education and Coaching. She was a member of the Varsity 8+ that placed second at the 1985 Collegiate Nationals. While at Wisconsin, Kowal helped the team to four Midwest Rowing Championships and two Eastern Sprints titles. Kowal joined the Lightweight National Team while still an undergraduate in 1983. As a five-time member of the national team, Kowal was a two-time World Champion in the lightweight four without coxswain (straight four). Her boat won gold in 1986 in England and again in 1987 in Copenhagen, where Kowal's boat posted a world record time of 6:45.0 for the event. Kowal has recently ventured into the world of competitive triathlons. Since 2003 she has competed in 20 triathlons and consistently finished in the top fi ve of her age group. She has raced in eight Half Ironmans and in September of 2004 competed in the Wisconsin Ironman, finishing in 12:59.13. She has also raced two half-marathons, winning at the Drake Relays in her age group and placing fourth in her age group at the Disney half-marathon in Orlando, FL.


In 1987, Kowal was honored by the United States Olympic Committee. A nominee for the Sullivan Award honoring the top amateur athlete in the nation, Kowal was named the national "Sportswoman of the Year" by the USOC. Kowal was honored in a White House ceremony along with 84 other USOC amateur athletes. Kowal has been honored twice by her alma mater for her contributions to rowing at Wisconsin. In 1996, The Mandi Kowal Award was created to honor the varsity lightweight athlete who contributes the most to the success of her crew by demonstrating a high level of performance, desire and excellence. In 1999, Kowal was again honored, having a racing eight named after her. In addition to her rowing and coaching responsibilities, Kowal served as a member of the Women's Olympic Committee for the US Rowing Association from 1988-90. She was the Midwest Regional Technical Coordinator of USRA from 1989-91, and was appointed the chair of the planning committee for the Big Ten Rowing Championships in 1999.

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