Utah rower wins a berth in the 2020 Olympics

Kathleen is Tokyo bound in 2020

Kathleen Noble will be racing the Womens Single Sculls in Tokyo 2020 Olympics.  Details are here.

Utah rower wins a berth in the 2020 Olympics

Salt Lake City, 23 October 2019.  Kathleen Noble, Salt Lake City resident, has managed to secure a coveted slot to race in the 2020 Olympics in the Women’s Single Scull.  Her dream of racing in the Olympics has taken her over several continents and the uniform she will wear will be of her country of birth, Uganda.

Qualification for the Olympics is a competitive and difficult process, and the road for Kathleen was no different.  The Ugandan Rowing Federation broached the idea of rowing in the Olympics with Kathleen since she had rowed competitively at Princeton University as a lightweight rower and competed in the U23 World Rowing Championships under the Ugandan flag. It was a long shot since Uganda has never qualified a rower at the Olympics.

Once the idea took hold with Kathleen, who works as a technician at the Huntsman Cancer Institute in Salt Lake City, she began to look at options.  Equipment to train on and a body of water to practice on were of paramount importance.  This was when she approached Linda Iqbal, the Head Coach of Utah Crew, for help.  Linda immediately told her that she would have the team’s full support.  Although Utah Crew trains high school age athletes for rowing, Kathleen joined practices as an adult and the junior boys and girls enjoyed pacing her as she trained for the Olympic Qualification Regatta.  She joined the team for a training camp at Moon Lake and by October had built up significant speed in her single scull, a narrow 27 foot long boat that is propelled by two oars.  Her Huntsman Center colleagues and supervisors were enthusiastic about her dream and fully supportive of her endeavor as she trained many hours every day on the water and the ergometer.

On October 12 at the African Olympic Qualifier in Tunisia, Kathleen made history by securing one of the five slots for African countries with an outstanding race in the Women’s Single Scull.  This is the first time Uganda has a rower represented on the Olympic squad.

Kathleen was born in Kiwoko, Uganda , after her parents moved there from Ireland.  She went through high school near Kampala and enrolled at Princeton University where she graduated with a degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. In her sophomore year, she walked onto the lightweight women’s rowing team at Princeton and was able to make the varsity eight the first year, an extremely rare feat.  After graduation she came to Utah as a wilderness therapy field instructor working with youth in the desert teaching survival and communication skills and dealing with difficult emotions in a healthy way.  Later she transitioned to working in the Schiffman Lab at The Huntsman Cancer.

Looking forward to the nine months before the Olympics Kathleen is looking for additional training and racing opportunities that can improve her speed and would appreciate any help from the Salt Lake community.

About Utah Crew:

Utah Crew, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, develops the athleticism, teamwork, and social skills of the youth of Utah between the ages of 13 and 18. Rowing promotes a work ethic and dedication to excellence that impacts academics positively. Utah Crew observes a no-cut policy and dedication to team culture. The club offers programs to both recreational and competitive rowers, regardless of ability to pay, ranging from new athletes to competitors at the highest levels of youth rowing. Utah Crew is nationally competitive, having advanced three crews to finals at the 2019 USRowing National Championships and finishing fifth among US competitors at the 2019 Head of the Charles. Connect with Utah Crew at https://utahcrew.org or on Instagram @utahcrew.


Kathleen Rowing
Pictures of Kathleen training in Utah and racing in Tunisia to qualify for the Olympics