It’s just after 6 a.m. on June 23, and Nicolette Martin leans into her seat at the Seattle-Tacoma Airport, a massive cup of coffee in hand, exhausted from both an early morning travel-day wake up and seven matches in the past three days at AVP Seattle.

Her voice is gone, as it should be, for it was hardly 12 hours ago that she was battling in a white-knuckler of a three-set quarterfinal match against Amanda Dowdy and Irene Hester-Pollock. Up 13-12 in the third set, Martin and Allie Wheeler couldn’t hang on, their legs finally giving way to 18, seven of which came during Thursday’s qualifier.

She doesn’t mind the qualifiers. They’re good to build a rhythm and get live reps before the main draw, but it would be nice, she admits, not to have those extra three matches, to not be so worn down by the quarterfinals.

Seattle marked the second time in as many tournaments that Martin made the quarterfinals after coming out of the qualifier. She did the same in Austin with Sarah Day, succumbing in the quarters to Katie Spieler and Karissa Cook.

An hour prior to the quarterfinal match, Spieler couldn’t believe that Martin and Day had already begun warming up. Hadn’t they already played 15 sets that weekend? In heat that had regularly eclipsed triple-digits?

How were they still going?

Just Nicolette being Nicolette.

To catch Martin in the airport is to catch her on the strangest of days: A day off. No volleyball. No reps. No working out. Just coffee and naps.

“I don’t know where that came from,” she said on SANDCAST: Beach Volleyball with Tri Bourne and Travis Mewhirter of her nonstop motor. “Just being at [USC], they really pushed us. We were training six days a week and Sunday was our rest day. It was an hour lifting then a three-hour practice. Doing that for four years, it’s like ‘Ok, we won three national championships. Something about that worked, so I need to keep going, I can’t stop.’”

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