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Oct. 24, 2011

Columbus, Ohio –

Looking ahead to Friday’s start of the regular season, Ohio State athletics communications student Alyssa Dombrowski introduces us to some of the Buckeyes on this year’s team. Today, she talks with senior Natalie Nichols.

Natalie Nichols, one of three seniors on the Buckeye roster, hopes to better herself as a teammate and an individual this winter.

The Claremont, Calif., native will be spending her final season as a Buckeye hoping to help win the Big Ten championship, but also training to represent the United States in the 2012 Olympic Trials next summer.

“I don’t believe this puts added pressure on me,” Nichols said. “I will be thrilled if one of my teammates from the U.S. or from another country does well at trials because that means our program is getting that much better.”

Nichols, the Buckeyes’ top 1,650-freestyle swimmer for the past two seasons, acknowledges the importance of Ohio State’s swimming program as a major contributor to her success.

“Having the best training equipment, coaches, and facilities has helped transform me into what I am today,” she said.

The memory of one of her largest influences stays with Nichols to this day. “I swam under Coach Kevin Perry for three years [in Claremont],” said Nichols. Although Perry passed away her senior year, his passion for the sport continues to inspire her. “If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be swimming today,” she said.

To better herself as an athlete, Nichols aims to improve her healthy lifestyle. “Over the summer, I read a book about distance athletes that said it’s beneficial for them to eat more vegetables than meats,” said Nichols. “This year I plan on eating more salads, vegetables, and fruits.”

Nichols finds the motivation to achieve in the success of her teammates. “They always push me to be better in practice,” Nichols said. “Their accomplishments in the pool encourage me to better myself as an athlete.”