Nicole Aarts has been a Hoboken resident her entire life and has been a world class athlete, although she’s toiled in virtual obscurity.
“When I was younger, I tried playing soccer and it didn’t work,” Aarts said. “But my dad Erik was a swimmer at RPI and I thought that maybe I could be a good swimmer.”
So Aarts joined the Stevens Sharks in Hoboken, then was part of the Bayonne Mermaids for a while.
“At first, I was swimming more for recreation, but as I got older, I got better,” Aarts said. “I liked competition. I liked training with my teammates. I became more dedicated to the sport and to working hard in the pool. By the time I was 11, I knew that it was something I wanted to do.”
So Aarts joined Asphalt Green Unified Aquatics -- or better known as AGUA -- based in the Upper East Side of Manhattan.
“It was much harder,” Aarts said. “I was the youngest on a team of high school girls and I was racing against them.”
It also led to some different training regimens.
“I would say it was difficult,” Aarts said. “I have to get up at 4:15 every morning to get to 5:30 a.m. practices. I then go back to the pool after school and train again until 7:30 at night. I try to do my school work right after practice but there isn’t much time.”
There’s also the competition involved. Aarts attends the Convent of the Sacred Heart in New York and swims for the school’s team, as well as the AGUA team.
“I swim all year round,” Aarts said. “I have only one break for about two weeks in August. But I’m training six days a week with four weight lifting sessions outside of the pool. I consider the training my second home. Since I started high school, I knew what this was going to be like. I understood that this is what swimmers went through, so I wanted to do the same thing.”
Last week, Aarts’ hard work all paid off, because she signed her national letter of intent to attend Northwestern University on a scholarship beginning in the fall of 2016.
“It’s such a huge relief to me,” Aarts said. “I go to school with like 50 other students and they’re all just getting their college applications out. I already know where I’m going, so it’s such a relief. I’m excited to continue my career at such a great school. It’s an amazing place.”
Aarts said that she chose Northwestern because she wanted to be close to a major city like Chicago, but not right inside the heart of the city.
“I consider myself a city girl, but I didn’t want to be downtown Chicago,” said Aarts, choosing Northwestern which is located in suburban Evanston, Illinois.
Aarts is always considered a favorite to win championships inside her league on the high school level. She was able to break her club team record in the backstroke and earned Scholastic All-American honors.
By the way, Aarts has a 3.99 grade point average and received a score of 39 on her ACT tests.
“I’ve always been one to push myself to the highest point,” Aarts said.
She competes in the 100 and 200-meter backstroke and the 200 and 500-meter freestyle. She also likes to dabble in the butterfly and the intermediate medley, but those events are not her strong points.
“I always try to go for the fastest times,” Aarts said. “I don’t know if I’ll swim all those events.”
Aarts said that she’s leaning toward studying engineering at Northwestern, but she could enroll in the Northwestern school for Arts and Sciences.
“I’ve narrowed it down to that,” Aarts said.
Aarts also has higher goals.
“My ultimate goal is to make it to the Olympic trials,” Aarts said. “I’ll see how far I can get in the sport, but that’s the goal.”
Sounds like a highly motivated young lady who has used swimming as an outlet to a bright future…
Former St. Peter’s Prep runner Brian Lang has earned his place in the Guinness Book of World Records with definitely a different twist.
Lang, the former Prep standout distance runner, is currently the senior manager for digital media for the Baltimore Ravens football team.
He also still actively runs and last weekend, he ran the Philadelphia Marathon that finishes at the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum, where the famed statue of Rocky Balboa stands.
However, Lang ran the marathon in a Santa Claus suit and by finishing the race in 2 hours, 54 minutes and two-tenths of a second, he became the fastest person to ever finish a marathon while running in a Santa Claus suit. Lang broke the record by almost two minutes.
Lang ran the race in the suit to raise money for charity. “Claus for a Cause” enabled Lang to raise $3,700 for Basic Literary Skills for Philadelphia youth, the Mighty Writers group…
The Great Hagueini will take the week off after a sizzling perfect 4-0 mark with his prognostications last week. Three of the local teams are headed to their respective state championship games _ Hoboken in North Jersey Section 2, Group I; Lincoln in Central Jersey Group II and Hudson Catholic in Non-Public Groups 1&2.
Hoboken and Lincoln will play their state title games Saturday, Dec. 5 at Kean University. Hoboken will play Brearley at 1 p.m. and Lincoln will take on Raritan at 7 p.m.
Hudson Catholic will take on St. Joseph of Hammonton at Rowan University on Sunday, Dec. 6 at 2:30 p.m.
We will have better looks at all three games next week…--Jim Hague
Jim Hague can be reached at OGSMAR@aol.com.