LONDON -- Lucy Van Dalen has achieved her first Olympic goal -- reaching the semifinals of the women's 1,500 meters.

The Stony Brook alum and NCAA indoor mile champion, running for New Zealand, did it with a 4-minute, 7.04-second eighth-place finish in her morning qualifying race.

Twenty-four runners out of three sections -- led by Abeba Aregawi of Ethiopia in 4:04.55 -- advanced to Wednesday night's semifinals.

But she knows full well that advancing out of the semis and into the Friday final will be a whole lot tougher.

"Oh, it's just amazing, this whole Olympic experience," she said.

"When I stepped onto that track for the first time, I really tried to take in that moment. It was so awesome, hearing my family and friends calling my name.

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"I'm having such a blast.

"Eighty thousand people in the stands for morning qualifying races, that's just crazy.

"My Stony Brook degree's in child and family studies, and sociology, but right now, I just want to focus on track and field, I want to live in the moment."