Julie (Swail) Ertel, a UCSD graduate ('95) who guided the women’s water polo team to two national championships, will be attending the Olympic Games.
Ertel, by winning the second of three U.S. triathlon trials recently in Alabama, secured a spot on the U.S. Olympic team.
“I didn’t really feel like I had it won until I crossed the finish line,” she said, “but I had a sizable lead at the transition from bike to run and about a quarter of the way through the run, I was able to back off a little.” Her appearance in Beijing will come eight years after she won a silver medal as captain of the U.S. water polo team at the Sydney Games. “It’s still a little surreal,” Ertel said, “but it’s starting to sink in a little more each day - particularly when I see the excitement on the face of my husband and my training partners.” While she competed in small, local triathlons in high school, Ertel kept her focus at UCSD on academics and water polo. In her four years as a Triton All-American, she became UCSD’s all-time leading goals scorer with 245 scores. Ertel graduated with a degree in economics.
In 2002 she won the overall age group title at USA Triathlon Nationals. Ertel, 35, had a breakout year in 2007 with a win at USAT Elite Nationals and a gold medal at the Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She finished the 2007 season by winning her first World Cup event in Cancun, Mexico.
The Olympic triathlon finals will be held on Aug. 18 and 19 in Beijing at the Ming Tomb Reservoir.