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Julie Ertel

Olympian 2008

Athlete Bio




Placentia, CA


University of California – San Diego

USAT National Team Member
2008 U.S. Olympic Trials Champion
2007 Pan Am Games Gold Medalist
2007 USAT Elite National Champion
2007 Haul to the Great Wall Series Champion
2005 Haul to the Great Wall Series Champion
2003 Pan Am Games Team Member

Full Name: Julie Swail Ertel
Hometown: Placentia, Calif.
Resides: Irvine, Calif.
College: University of California – San Diego
Height: 5-8
Weight: 145
Birthdate: 1972
Birth Place: Anaheim, Calif.
Years Elite: 6
Final 2007 ITU Rank: 14
Final 2007 USAT Rank: 3
Competitor Radio Interview: Julie Swail Ertel

Find out More about Julie Ertel in this Extensive Profile and Q&A

Watch a July 23 Interview with Julie

Julie Ertel, who won a silver medal in water polo at the 2000 Olympics, is going back to the Games - this time as a triathlete - with a goal of winning a second Olympic medal. In April, she won the Olympic Trials in Tuscaloosa, Ala., joining Laura Bennett on Team USA. Endurance Planet had a chance to sit down with Julie to talk about her training plan leading up to her Olympic Trials win and about the differences between a team sport and an individual sport. Below are some excerpts from that interview.

Endurance Planet: What is your biggest piece of advice for fellow triathletes?

Julie Ertel:  The most important thing I tell people is, 'Make sure you're having fun.'  It seems to me that people join the sport because they want to have fun and then they get so caught up in times or beating a certain person that I think that a certain element of that enjoyment gets lost. 

EP: Making the Olympics in a team sport is not the same as making the Olympics in triathlon.

JE: It's a big difference from being on a team sport. A couple of the advantages are that I can train when I like, I can rest when I like. But it's also different in that I don't really have teammates that I'm being pushed by and pushing every day and getting excited about the Olympics with. With that said, even though it's an individual sport, I have a huge group of supporters and friends that I train with.

Listen to full interview at EndurancePlanet.com.

More about Julie... 

Personal:  Julie Swail Ertel… Born Dec. 27, 1972 in Anaheim, Calif.… Parents are Jon and Judy Swail, who live nearby in Placentia… Has one sister, Jana… Husband Greg and stepson Johnny… Graduated from the University of California – San Diego with a degree in economics and a minor in urban studies and Black American music… Received her masters in education, with an emphasis in physical education, from Azusa Pacific University in California… Has done additional graduate work at Chapman University… Teaches physical education courses at Orange Coast Community College… Past coach of women's water polo at the University of California – Irvine… Teaches Pilates-based stretching and flexibility classes… Hobbies include recreational cycling, tennis and going to the beach. 

Elite Triathlon Career:  Had breakout year in 2007 with win at USAT Elite Nationals and gold medal at Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil... Won the five-race USAT Haul to the Great Wall Elite Series title… Finished 2007 season by winning her first World Cup event (Cancun, Mexico)… Qualified for the 2004 world championship team with a fifth-place finish at the Race to Athens ITU international triathlon in Honolulu, Hawaii… Qualified for the 2003 U.S. Pan American Games triathlon team based on her finishes at qualifying races in Clermont, Fla., and Bellingham, Wash., and her world ranking from the International Triathlon Union… Finished in the top 20 at her first ITU World Cup race in June 2003 in Gamagori, Japan.

Athletic Background: Won a silver medal as a member of the U.S. women's Olympic water polo team at the 2000 Summer Games in Sydney, Australia... Was a member of the Olympic Festival Water Polo West Team in 1993-95… National Team member from 1993-2001… Played four years of water polo at UCSD… Two-time national champions… Four-time all-American… Named Outstanding Senior Athlete in 1995… Team captain from 1993-95… Named Triton athlete of the year in 1994… Attended Valencia High School in Placentia, Calif., where she was on the swim team for four years and also played boys varsity water polo for two years.

Amateur Triathlon Career:  Did some small, local triathlons in high school… After Sydney, knowing her water polo career was coming to an end, she competed in a triathlon on Catalina Island, off the coast of California… Found success in that and other races and joined Mission Hospital Triathlon team… Won the overall age group title at USAT Nationals in 2002… Decided to go elite after winning the overall age group title at the 2002 ITU Triathlon World Championships in Cancun, Mexico… Also won the overall age group world aquathlon title in Cancun.

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