June 16th, 2024

Nicol earns berth in FINA World Championships

By Justin Seward - Lethbridge Herald on April 20, 2022.

Lethbridge’s Rachel Nicol has earned a berth to the 19th annual Fina World Championships in Budapest this June after successful swims at the 2022 Bell Canadian Swimming Trials in Victoria recently.
She will be one of 32 swimmers that will represent Canada at the international meet.
Nicol won the national championship in the 50-metre breaststroke and a silver in the 100-metre and 200-metre breaststroke on as she represented the University of Calgary Swim Club.
Nicol says the process was complicated and she couldn’t say with 100 per cent confidence what selected her for the World Championship team.
“It was kind of surprising,” said Nicol.
“I wasn’t sure how it was going to go. Like again my training was pretty different this year than what I’m used to. So I wasn’t really sure what to expect and just went in wanting to be happy and have a good time and really enjoy myself. And you know a lot of that baggage is kind of gone for me because I’m a bit older in the sport. So, I didn’t go in expecting to make any of the teams. I just wanted to go in for myself.”
This will be her third trip to the World Championships.
It wasn’t an easy decision for Nicol to jump back in the pool after a rocky road she had experienced over the last number of years.
She spoke about how difficult it was to finish two-tenths of second from making the Tokyo Olympics in trials last June.
“Obviously, not making the team was really difficult last year and getting through that and again the selection criteria is hard and convoluted,” she said.
“It’s a hard pill to swallow for sure. So, we were in conversations with Swimming Canada for a while why I wasn’t selected to the team for Tokyo, and that was pretty hard because it kept dredging up a lot of hard memories and things like that. It’s been a pretty difficult couple of months. And you know going to the pool and training, it’s difficult in and of itself — let alone when you’re dealing with other stuff in your life like this — and I was also back in school trying to finish up my degree.”
Nicol eventually attended a swim meet in Holland back in November.
She also found it tough having to comeback from an injury sustained in 2018/2019.
“There’s been a lot of stop signs along the way and so trying to get over that and over those struggles has been taking a lot of effort and a lot of footage, using a lot of resilience and persistence and all those kinds of things.”
UCSC head coach Mike Blondal has been instrumental of helping Nicol through a difficult time and has been understanding about her training and doing things a bit different this year.
“I have taken a step back from the intensity and that’s what I needed,” she said.
“He’s been really good about understanding that. So, basically I’ve just made a lot of choices that I want to make.”
Nicol, now 29 years-old, has been a competitive swimmer for 25 years, was a long-time member of the Lethbridge Amateur Swim Club until she accepted a scholarship to Dallas’s Southern Methodist University in 2011.
Nicol returned to Canada and trained for six months to train under current University of Lethbridge swim team coach Peter Schori in 2016 leading up to the Rio Olympics, where she was named to the team. She came fifth in the 100-metre breast stroke.
She is currently completing a Master’s Degree in Kinesiology at University of Calgary.

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