Cal Alumnae Julie Nichols Won Silver Medal

Sept. 15, 2005

GIFU, Japan -

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Former Cal rower, Julie Nichols (1996-2000), and her partner Renee Hykel, won a silver medal in lightweight women's rowing at the 2005 World Championships, August 30 in Gifu, Japan. The pair captured the United States' first medal in the women's lightweight double since Sarah Garner and Christine Collins won the bronze at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

'We knew we were going to have to go early in the last 500 [meters],' said Hykel. 'So, I called the move before we even got to the 500 [meter mark], because I saw Poland moving - we were in third and Poland was in fourth, it was really tight across the lanes so I knew we had to go. We just started going a few strokes before the 500 meter mark. Every eight strokes we tried to go up again and up again and up again, then maybe five strokes past the 250 [meter mark], we just go. At that point, we call it `sink,' just throw everything out, including the kitchen sink.'

Along with training for the World Championships this year, the pair started rowing together last summer in preparation for the Olympic trials. Nichols and Hykel placed second at the Olympic trials in 2004, but were confident they could do better in the future.

'It was awesome,' said Nichols. 'We trained together in the double last summer, too, leading up to the Olympic trials, and we just felt like we were a natural match rowing together. We were really excited to get back into it to train this year. We just really enjoy racing together, and it was great to be able to do it here.'

Nichols and Hykel began training together for the 2004 Athens Olympics and are now aspiring to row together in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

'It's great,' said Nichols. 'It's one up from our medal won last year, and in an Olympic event, it's awesome. It's not going to sink in for like two months.'