June 26, 2012
BERKELEY -The California women's rowing team will have five representatives on the U.S. Olympic team as either a participant or a coach at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London this summer. Cal alums Erin Cafaro and Julie Nichols, along with current Golden Bear Kara Kohler will be competing in the Games, while Cal head coach Dave O'Neill and former Bear rower Laurel Korholz will be assistant coaches.
"It's great that our program will be so well represented at the Olympics," O'Neill said. "Everyone is very proud of Julie, Erin and Kara. They are wonderful representatives for Cal and the USA. Each of them has worked extremely hard to get to this point, and I'm thrilled to be able to watch firsthand as the race for a medal."
This Olympics marks the first time since 1992 that Cal has had three American rowers make the U.S. Olympic team.
O'Neill will be Nichols' coach in the lightweight women's double sculls in London. Nichols and her teammate Kirsten Hedstrom qualified after posting a time of 7:07.45 at the World Rowing Cup in Lucerne, Switzerland, good enough for a fourth-place finish, exactly what the pair needed to qualify. It will be Nichols' first-ever Olympic appearance.
Cafaro has already enjoyed tremendous Olympic success, having been a part of the women's eight that won gold at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China. Cafaro, a 2006 Cal grad, had qualified for the '12 Games in the pairs, but turned down her seat in order to pursue a return to the women's eight boat. She will be one of six members returning from the 2008 boat as they vie for a second straight gold medal.
Still with two years of eligibility remaining at Cal, Kohler redshirted the 2012 season in order to pursue her dreams of making the U.S. Olympic team. She will be a part of the women's quadruple sculls. The 2010 Pac-10 Newcomer of the Year, Kohler captured gold with the women's four at the 2011 World Rowing Championships in Bled, Slovenia.
An Olympic rowing veteran, Korholz returns to the international scene for her fifth Olympic Games as either a competitor or an assistant coach. In her final race as a participant, she won silver as part of the women's eight at the 2004 Games in Greece. A 1993 Cal grad, Korholz made her Olympic debut at the 1996 Games in Atlanta and will be making her second straight appearance as a coach this summer.
The rowing portion of the Olympics begins on Saturday, July 28, and concludes on Saturday, Aug. 4.