Julie Nichols qualifies for London 2012 US Olympic Rowing Team
June 4, 2012
Kristin Hedstrom (Concord, Mass.), and Julie Nichols (Livermore, Calif.). Photos courtesy of Allison Frederick.
Former UCLA MAE student Julie Nichols, who received her Masters in Mechanical Engineering in Fall 2009 with a 4.0 GPA, has qualified for the London 2012 US Olympic Rowing Team! Please read the following USRowing press release, followed by a letter from Julie.
(USRowing press release by Allison Frederick.)
LUZERN, Switzerland – The U.S. lightweight women’s double sculls missed the podium at the 2012 Samsung World Rowing Cup on May 27 in Lucerne, Switzerland, but Julie Nichols (Livermore, Calif.) and Kristin Hedstrom (Concord, Mass.) couldn’t be happier with fourth place.
The finish was just what the crew needed in order to qualify for the 2012 Olympic Games in London, something it fell just short of accomplishing at the first world cup stop in Belgrade three weeks ago.
“We’re so excited,” said Nichols, an alternate at the 2008 Olympic Games and USRowing’s 2011 Female Athlete of the Year. “It is a dream for both or us. We’re looking forward to getting back to California and getting back to training and ramping up for the next race of the season.”
Nichols and Hedstrom won the lightweight double at National Selection Regatta II, then turned up a sixth-place finish at World Rowing Cup I. In order to keep the event from going back to trial in West Windsor, N.J., in June, Nichols and Hedstrom needed to best at least two crews in the Lucerne final.
Eleven crews entered the lightweight women’s event at the second World Cup stop, including all of the finalists from the 2011 World Rowing Championships. En route to Sunday’s final, Nichols and Hedstrom finished third in their heat and advanced with a second-place finish from the repechage.
Then in Sunday’s final, the U.S. crew was third off the line behind China’s Wenyi Huang and Dongxiang Xu and New Zealand’s Julia Edward and Louise Ayling. Defending world champions Alexandra Tsiavou and Christina Giazitzidou of Greece, who were in sixth place for much of the race, laid down the fastest 500-meter split in the last stretch to overtake the American crew and finish within 0.65 seconds of the leader for a bronze medal.
China won in a 7:04.14, with New Zealand second in 7:04.39 and Greece third in 7:04.79. The United States held off Great Britain’s Katherine Copeland and Sophie Hosking by just 0.09 seconds to grab the fourth-place slot.
“We had no idea it was that close,” said Nichols. “But we’ll take it.”
“Overall, the piece was great,” said Hedstrom. “We’ve been working hard since Belgrade on fine-tuning everything. I feel like the piece that we went out and did today was just what we had worked on, and we did a really good job of executing. That was the plan.”
USRowing is a nonprofit organization recognized by the United States Olympic Committee as the governing body for the sport of rowing in the United States. USRowing’s official suppliers include Boathouse Sports, Vespoli, WinTech, Filippi, Croker Oars, Rudy Project, Concept2, Nielsen Kellerman, PowerHTV and Ludus Tours. USRowing also receives generous support from the National Rowing Foundation and its corporate sponsors and partners ANXeBusiness Corp, Voxer, EZ Dock, EMCVenues, The Perfect SNAQUE and INDi. For more information, visit www.usrowing.org. USRowing has created The Row to London to engage sponsors leading up to the 2012 Olympic Games, with proceeds going to help ensure the U.S. team’s success. Opportunities also exist to partner with America Rows – supporting diversity initiatives and adaptive programs. For more information, please contact Beth Kohl at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A letter from Julie:
Hi UCLA Engineering/MAE Department, I have had a great season of rowing so far this year. In November I was awarded US Rowing's 2011 Female Athlete of the Year. I had a great winter of training in Northern California. In mid-April I traveled to Southern California to race in the National Selection Regatta in the Lightweight Women's Double Sculls (LW2x). My rowing partner, Kristin Hedstrom, and I won by over 4 seconds. This win qualified us to travel to Europe and race in the first two Rowing World Cup Regattas. With a top four finish at either of these international regattas, we could secure our spots on the USA Olympic Team. At the beginning of May, we raced at the first World Cup in Belgrade, Serbia and finished 6th overall, missing the qualification spot. Following that race, we traveled to Switzerland for a three week training camp before the next regatta. It was great to have a little more time to train and adjust to being in Europe. We showed up at the Second World Cup in Luzern, Switzerland refreshed and ready to race. This time we were able to hit the qualification standard! May 27th, we placed 4th, just 0.09 seconds ahead of 5th place Great Britain, securing our places on the Olympic Team! We have returned home to the USA for 7 more weeks of training before heading to London for the Olympic Games. We will train in Eton for 12 days before racing. Rowing events are contested from July 28th-Aug 5th in Eton. I hope all is well at UCLA. Thank you for all the support. Best Wishes, Julie Nichols Press release: http://www.usrowing.org/News/12-05-27/Nichols_and_Hedstrom_Qualify_for_London.aspx Anyone interested in supporting Julie in her Olympic effort can make a tax-deductible donation to "California Rowing Club" with "LW2x - Julie Nichols" in the memo line. Checks can be mailed to: California Rowing Club Attn: Zach Vlahos 10 Clay St. Suite 200 Oakland, CA 94607