Nicholls reclaims her 500m mantle.
No-one was more shocked by Perth kayaker Alana Nicholls winning the K1 500 national title than Nicholls herself.
The popular West Australian beat home a crack field of Olympians, including Naomi Flood, Jo Bridgen-Jones and Hannah Davis in tough conditions on Champion Lakes in Perth.
Nicholls admitted she was shocked on the opening day by how much her opponents had improved.
"Just watching the girls in the heats and the semis, everyone's really lifted a bit this year," Nicholls said.
"I thought I'd be top three at best. I'm probably a few months away from being where I was last year."
Nicholls said she still thinks about last year's Olympics performances, when she narrowly missed the finals in both events.
She now has a four-year plan ahead of Rio which she hopes will prevent ending up heartbroken again.
"The Olympics is in my heart and I'm always thinking about. I don't ever want to be in that position again," she said.
"It's just making sure all these things are done properly."