State College, Pa- Most consider swimming to be a solitary sport. Swimmers propel themselves through the water, battling opponents to be the first to the wall… but one freshman faces a different battle.
One that she’s not fighting alone.
After battling and beating lymphoma in high school last year Nikolette Nolte, or “Niki” to those who know her was on a track to thrive.
A recruited D1 swimmer at Penn State, admission to the Schreyer’s Honors College, and the chance to enjoy college life.
But as she was poised to start a new chapter in her life, the news came.
“I was walking home from practice, I was by myself, I was in the parking lot of my building and she called me and she was like i don’t know how to tell you this…” Marget Shelly, Niki’s roommate and teammate said.
Shelly was one of the first to hear that Niki was diagnosed with leukemia.
“I started to cry,” Shelly. said.
“It was a huge shock for all of us, I don’t think a lot of us knew how to react, and things are happening so quickly for her. I just couldn’t even imagine what she was going through, and for us to have to comprehend and take that in was a lot,” Maddie Hart, Niki’s teammate said.
But Niki is staying strong, just completing her first set of chemo, and home now… looking to battle back once again.
“If you’re on the playground and you want to pick a team, she’s the kind of kid you say, i want her on my team… And she’s been that way since gotten here. And I’ve heard she’s anxious to get back here and get back in the water and get back to school,” said Tim Murphy PSU’s swimming coach.