By Colin Curtin
Strong: adjective having or marked by great physical power, having moral or intellectual power.
As a student athlete, it is a requirement of you to be strong both physically and mentally. However, that is just the tip of the iceberg. You need to be mature, disciplined, resilient, determined, and responsible, but most importantly, you need to have the will to win. If you think you know something about being strong, think again. Please, take a moment and think about your favorite activity in the world. Now think about it being take from you, right before your eyes, in one fatal swoop. This girl had something here, to be a part of the first team in program history win the NEC Swimming and Diving Championship for Bryant University. Nicole had swam the first session busting out an in season best in her 500 yard freestyle. Her sights were set high, as she got ready for her evening swim in the “A” final (seeded third overall). That afternoon while taking a nap, Nicole suffered a stroke while in her sleep, thus putting her swimming career and the rest of her life on hold. Strokes occur when the blood flow to an area of the brain is cut off causing oxygen to be deprived and brain cells to die. Now think about this, the women’s team was competing in the NEC tournament without their captain, and one of the fastest women on the team to bet. What does an organization do next? Lead by head coach Katie Cameron, the Bulldogs could do the only thing that they knew how to. Fight and fight and fight until there was no more fighting to be done. As the women’s team battled on, Nicole was in the ICU fitting even harder for every breath against all odds. Things had quickly turned for the worse, and fears had begun to set in for many of her friends and loved ones. But this was nothing for our girl, she can swim twenty laps in under five minutes, back squat nearly 100lbs, crank out 10 consecutive pull-ups, figure out an accounting problem, maintain a 4.0 GPA, work 8 hours a week on top of school and 20 hours of swimming, and still manages to find time for her boyfriend John. Let me tell you something: this girl can do it all, and if there was anyone who has going to get through this, it was Nicole. With Nicole in the hospital, the women’s team still had a daunting task ahead of them. The girls went after it and brought it home; Junior Jillian Rice finishes first in the 200 yard freestyle, Freshman Elin Svard finishes first in the 100 yard butterfly qualifying for an NCAA DI “B” cut, freshman Heather Wong and Kayleigh Canavan finish fourth and fifth in the 100 breaststroke, and freshman Alyssa Difiore finishes first the 500 yard freestyle. The girls went out and did what they had to do for their teammate and sister Nicole. Finishing off one of the most remarkable seasons for the women’s program history. The girls ended up winning the meet by over sixty points and set numerous team and conference records. The day after the meet, the team went and visited their sister Nicole. As Nicole was still in the ICU and resting, the team laid their championship trophy next to the girl that deserves it the most.
Nicole is currently making a remarkable recovery with her friends, family, and teammates supporting her every step of the way.