Below Nicole reflects on her preparation and perfromance at the 2011 World Championship Trials in West Windsor, NJ:
"It was desolate. After training in the bustle of Washington D.C. for 3 weeks, where the 7:00am jets, 7:15 news helicopters, and 7:30 EVAC practice team render hearing your coach near impossible, we were pretty excited to transition our training up to Mercer Lake in NJ. The hustle and bustle of the city was energizing; but, after a series of mornings where our boat was double booked and I tried to take out a few innocent kayakers from bow seat, we thought pieces on the empty course at Mercer County, in our own boat, would offering a refreshing change.
The change was drastic. We went from no parking and tripping over Crocs on the dock to a completely empty boat house. There was no one. We couldn’t even get into the facility because all the administrators were out of town. Thankfully we got an addition to our team - head coach of Pocock, Steve Dani, arrived from Seattle. Having a coach “watch your every stroke” can add, well, some integrity to your practice.
It was a catch 22. The flat water, buoyed race course, and lack of obstructions made training a lot easier and we made technical improvements. But without anyone around, and with no other women’s lightweight quads registered for trials, it was hard to keep that “kick” in our stroke. Finally, though, my fellow OKCers arrived. Having my team around after being apart for almost two months put the vigor back into my training. The energy, charisma, and work ethic of the athletes in Oklahoma never ceases to inspire me. It probably also helped that another quad registered.
We were geared up. I liken it to a race horse that’s all warmed up to a lather and can hear the crowd cheering. We were chomping at our bits. On finals Thursday morning we finally got to do our first, all-out, throw in the kitchen sink, 2K. I swear to you, that headwind picked up every stroke as we went down that course. I didn’t know a 2K could take a quad so long to finish. But finish, we did: securing 1st place and our spot to the 2011 World Championship. One of the most exciting parts was realizing that we had posted up a competitive time with the Women’s Open Four, who is also training in Princeton between now and the World Championship. Hopefully, they won’t be too intimidated to do pieces with us ;) "
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