Name: Jane Nichols
Occupation: Image Analyst – mainly satellite imagery of vegetation
Local Team: CGM–Columbia Gorge Masters
The one thing that was always constant for me was swimming. It gave me a place to try to do my best. It gave me a place to heal (when needed) and know that things would be okay. Fortunately, it was, and is, there for me.
I learned to swim through the Brownies program (that merit badge was some reward).
Our little summer recreational team competed against the new Santa Clara Swim Club in early 1952, and I beat all of George Haines’s 10 year olds. SCSC asked me to come swim for them, and I did until I graduated from Los Gatos High School in 1959. My mom was diagnosed with lymphatic cancer also in 1952, and swimming helped me keep it together. I was George’s 2nd National winner, as Carol Tate McPherson was the first. I won the 220 yds fly in Houston, Texas. I think it was in 1955, and was held at the old Shamrock Hilton Hotel pool.
I went to the Olympic Trials in 1956 as a 14 year old, made the finals in the 100 Fly, and beat Portia Hancock, a teammate whom I often raced against. I graduated from San Jose State in 1972 with a BA in French and a Masters in Geography, ABD (All But Dissertation). Upon graduating I raised two kids and coached at San Jose State for the next five years. I also worked with recreational and high school swim teams in the SF Bay Area.
In the late 1970s – and on – I worked as an Image Analyst identifying vegetation types on satellite imagery for the customer, and then tied the satellite imagery to ground imagery. I worked for companies who did work for the government. I also cataloged the U-2 imagery at NASA Ames. That was fun. It was at this time that I met my forever mate and gained three more kids. We had a full and busy home. It wasn’t until about 1987 or so that I started up with Masters, and that was because of Nancy Ridout’s strong encouragement; first in South San Francisco and later here in Hood River, OR. Talk about the feeling of coming home! I did the Alcatraz Swim once and that was enough. Give me a lane line any time!
When we moved from CA to Hood River, I was the Hood River Valley High School swim team coach, which enabled me to know the community quickly. I did that for 7 years while running a 4 bedroom B&B full time. I really don’t know how we did it all!!
Swimming cleans out the brain, keeps the joints from locking up, and gets me out of my daily routine. I love the friends I have made. The conversations in the locker-room keep me up to date on the younger folk.