Volleyball is her game. She started in high school, played Division I in college, and now plays in national and local leagues year round—grass, sand, co-ed, you name it— including a USAV women’s team that goes to the Nationals every year.

We first heard about Holly Nichols through her husband Brian, who called her “beautiful, talented, and an outstanding athlete,” but also someone who wouldn’t “toot her own horn” by contacting us herself. Luckily, she agreed to be interviewed after Brian spilled the beans!

Holly started early. “I was a bit of a tomboy growing up… I can’t sit still very long and am very competitive as well. So sports were a natural thing for me. I was exposed at an early age…I loved it and it has stuck with me through my life.”

Year-round volleyball shouldn’t leave Holly much time to work in many workouts. She plays once or twice a week (including two or three all-day tournaments each month), but still finds time for the gym, running with her husband, and weekly soccer practice with her two daughters. But she’s also found the perfect way to integrate fitness into her work life: running a swim school! “I’m so blessed that I have a job that requires me to get into the water to either train teachers or teach children and adults to swim. This alone helps me to work and workout all in one.” Her on-the-job workouts—treading water, breath control and refinement—get passed onto her students. “Its fun and it helps me to create new drills for my swimmers…I like to work to the best of my ability and try to pull the best out of others.”

As the “best” isn’t limited to fitness. Working out “gives me the ability to focus and make good clear decisions at work. It gives me confidence in myself which is important for setting a good example for my two girls.” According to Brian, their daughters, Maia and Madison, are taking that example to heart. Here’s to another generation!


Home: Shelton, WA

Occupation: President of Discover Aquatics, Inc. (Swim School)

Education: Degree in Kinesiology and minor in Nutrition at San Jose State University, 1998

Partner: Brian, married 10 years

Children: Maia Nichols (8), Madison Nichols (6)

Age: 34

Height: 5’10’’

Weight: 145

Sports, past and present: Volleyball, soccer, swimming, basketball, snowboarding, wakeboarding, mountain biking

Athletic accomplishments: Placing second at Nationals in Minneapolis 2009 (A division)

Little known fact about you: I’ve wanted to be a Firewoman!

Environmentally incorrect preference: Iced coffee in a plastic cup.

Guilty pleasure: Salt and vinegar chips

Most embarrassing moment: Shooting a basket on the wrong side of the court after halftime in 8th grade! Everyone stood on the other side of the court watching me.

Greatest triumph: Establishing a successful business from scratch.

Favorite thing to do when not working or working out: Spending time with my family

Moment of Inspiration: When my child at 6 ½ years of age out ran my husband at the walk-a-thon. She’s a chip off the ol’ block!

Favorite Quote: “You’re the best mom ever.” —Maia Nichols

Funny Workout Story: In college I was working out with our trainer and he would focus on squats and leg press. One day after a couple of sets and adding one 45lb after another, a strong looking guy came up to us and said he wanted to try the weight that I was pressing. (Wish I could remember how much weight it was.) The trainer advised him that this wasn’t a good idea but he was determined regardless. So as he went down with the first press, his legs gave out and couldn’t get the weight back up. So the trainer and I had to pull the 45’s off one at a time until he could get it back up. We had a good laugh on that one. We tried not to embarrass him too much.


I don’t have a set fitness schedule because my work requires me to be flexible. I play in a volleyball league 1-2 days/ week, go to the gym 1 day/week, practice soccer with my girls 1 day week, teach swim lessons 1-2 days/week and then I will play in volleyball tournaments on either Saturday or Sunday 2-3days/month, which lasts all day long!