This season the University of Louisville women’s swim team has received a boost from two new outstanding freshman swimmers; Angela Nicolletta from Marietta, Georgia and Stephanie Tucker from Jeffersonville Indiana.
Nicolletta swims the 200 butterfly, 200 freestyle, 100 butterfly, and 100 freestyle. Tucker competes in the 400 individual medley, 200 individual medley, 200 butterfly, and 200 backstroke. This season both Nicolletta and Tucker have had success winning their individual events. In fact, after the last several meets Nicolletta has won the 200 fly twice, the 100 fly once, and the 200 free once, while Tucker has won the 400 IM twice, the 200 back twice, and the 100 back once.
The main reason that the two chose to come to U of L was because of their head coach S Porter. “The way she presented herself when she was recruiting and stuff like that last year,” said Tucker, “it was a good asset to see and I was really impressed with her program and what she has planned for U of L swimming in the future.”
Despite being their first year on the team, Nicolletta and Tucker say that the competition level in college isn’t that different than it was in high school.
“When you recruit the athletes, you’re recruiting them to compete in this level, and they have a basic knowledge of competition,” said Porter, “They’re coming in away from home for the first time, they’re looking after their schoolwork, their sleep, and their meals. So the whole scenario of them coming into a college atmosphere is not necessarily how well they’re going to compete, because competition is competition at any level. It’s learning to balance all the aspects of college life.”
All three, Nicolletta, Tucker, and Coach Porter, believe that by the time the two freshmen are seniors, they will both be outstanding swimmers.
“Both these girls at the end of their four years they should be both in Olympic trials, competing to get to a point to where they can represent the United States,” Porter said of their potential. “And when I look on it at the collegiate levels, both these girls should be scoring in NCAAs by the end of their senior year.”
Nicolletta and Tucker both agree with Porter about being able to compete well in the NCAA tournaments by their senior year. One of the advantages that the two swimmers have according to Porter is that “their skill level is very high. Stephanie, on top of that, her experience and judgement are high.” Tucker has even competed in Olympic trials.
Although Porter thinks that the girls have great potential, she as well as
Nicolletta and Tucker, see room for improvement.
“The little things like my stroke technique, my turns, and my starts,” Nicolletta states on her needs for improvement, “just the little things that make a big difference.”
Tucker’s main area of improvement is gaining strength back into her shoulder that she injured last year. “Our biggest concern and our main goal is to reestablish the strength to allow her to train,” said Porter, ” So the improvements that Stephanie needs right now are improvements outside of the pool.”
Porter also believes that Nicolletta and Tucker have leadership skills, but their different personalities have them leading in different ways. “Both girls already have leadership qualities now,” said Porter, “Their personalities dictate what kind of leader they can be. Like Stephanie, she’s going to lead by example, doing the right things, through her performance when she stands up on the block; her game face is a type of leadership. Angie’s way more outgoing, louder, and boisterous, that her energy and drive is a way of bringing cohesion to the team which is a form of leadership.”
With all the talent these two have, they could soon represent not only the university, but the country as well.