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Teammates help freshman overcome adjustment

For first-year students, the adjustment period from high school to college is not always a smooth process. But freshman diver Nicole Honey’s transition was made easier by the way her teammates embraced her from the moment she joined the Rutgers women’s swimming and diving team.

“I think I really found my niche on the team,” Honey said. “It’s really great and I love it. The team is great, and they support me as a freshman, so I’m having a blast.”

The niche that Honey found in the program allowed her to flourish in her rookie season on the Banks. During her first meet as a Scarlet Knight, Honey collected a third-place finish in the 1-meter dive and helped the team capture their first meet victory of the season.

The Knights, under second-year head coach Phil Spiniello, experienced early success this season, capturing six team victories en route to an undefeated record. Their most recent wins came on Nov. 11 and 12 against in-state rivals Seton Hall and Texas Christian.

Head diving coach Fred Woodruff sees the energy that Honey brings to the program and is excited to see her continue to build on her strong start.

“She had contributed big-time right off the bat,” Woodruff said. “She is a talented girl, and I have high hopes for her. Over the next four years, I think it’s going to be a whole lot of fun with her.”

Junior diver Katie Kearney also sees what the New Hyde Park, N.Y., native contributes to the team.

“She’s great. Her personality is absolutely fantastic,” Kearney said. “She is so vibrant. It’s fantastic to have her around.”

While the freshman experienced triumphs during the beginning stages of the season, her positive momentum came to a sudden halt with the development of an infection in her leg.

The injury caused her to miss significant time both on the practice boards and in meets.

“I got an infection in my leg, and I ended up in the hospital for four days,” Honey said. “My whole team came and visited me when I was there, and they really supported me when I came back.”

Healthy again, Honey returned right back to where she began. The freshman finished among the final eight competitors in the 1-meter dive at the Galbraith Invite held two weeks ago at Rutgers.

The Knights will next compete in the Big Al Open, held in Princeton, N.J. Honey wants to continue to improve and believes she and her teammates will continue to succeed as the season moves forward.

“I think [the team’s strong start] is amazing,” Honey said. “I didn’t even expect us to do this well and it’s great. It makes me very proud to be a part of the team, and I’m excited to keep on improving from where I was.”

While Honey insists that she adjusted well in her transition from a high school athlete to a Division-I diver, there is one aspect of the sport that took her a little longer to get used to, she said.

“I think it is the early morning practices that really get to you and get you exhausted,” Honey said. “But I’m getting used to it.”

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