Hear from Kirsten Nitz:
Kirsten Nitz speaks out about her decision to come to Wheaton College.
Want to know the secret to making the Olympic Trials cut for swimming? Open a cold can of wet tomato sauce loaded with slimy O-shaped noodles. Eat the whole can. Swim! Yes, that is right; the secret is SpaghettiO’s.
Standing tall , her long cut legs are covered by colorful capris, and her toned arms are hidden under a jean jacket. Kirsten’s bright eyes sparkle. From the outside, you might suspect that Kirsten is an athlete. Certainly, she looks like it. Kirsten appears to be a pretty, fit, young college-aged student. Walking past her on your way to biology class, you may not be able to tell that Kirsten is an elite swimmer. In fact, last year, Kirsten qualified for the Olympic Trials as a senior in high school.
How did Kirsten do it? SpagettiO’s! Kirsten Nitz, eats a cold can before all of her finals swim meets. For years, Kirsten has done this, since age 12. Actually, Kirsten thinks that it is pretty gross. However, her mom brought her SpaghettiO’s once before finals, and it worked, so now it is a continuing tradition for Kirsten. She eats them straight out of the can. Kirsten’s ability to swim reaches far beyond these Campbell’s carbs.
This past summer, Kirsten qualified for the Olympic Trials in two different events. Kirsten swam in the Olympic Trials at CenturyLink Center, a convention center, which holds concerts for artists, such as Bon Jovi and Miranda Lambert. The stadium floor was converted into a swimming pool. Two pools were built in 12 days by 38 individuals. Two million gallons of water filled the floor of the CenturyLink Center (one million in the competition pool and one million in the warm-up pool). Over 165,000 people crowded the stands over the course of the 2-week trials.
Kirsten said that the experience of swimming in Omaha stadium was incredible. She loved swimming in such a large arena with all of the spectators. It was neat for her to be able to swim with Olympians. While she was there, she met 4-time Olympic gold medalist, Missy Franklin, who Kirsten described as, “a gem.”
Athletics seems to run deeply through the Nitz’ family blood. Not only can the Nitz family play sports well, but they also have strong ties to Wheaton College. Her father played football at Wheaton College; one of her older brothers swam for Wheaton College and another one played tennis at Wheaton College. Kirsten’s older sister is now a professional triathlete. All five of Kirsten’s siblings attended Wheaton College, along with her parents and grandparents. The Nitz family has left no small legacy at the small Christian college in Chicago suburbia
The Nitz’s ties to Wheaton explain, in part, Kirsten’s decision to attend Wheaton College. She was recruited by a variety of Division I universities, but ended up taking recruiting trips to the University of Louisville, Liberty University, Vanderbilt University, and Wheaton College. For Kirsten, the decision between the two schools was extremely difficult for Kirsten, because all of them offered such different things.
In the end, Kirsten knew that swimming in college only lasted for 4 years and what was most important to her was to receive a good education and to be surrounded by people that she wanted to be more like. Furthermore, Kirsten wanted to be in an environment where she could grow and being closer to God. Because of these reasons, Kirsten committed to swimming at Wheaton College. However, in her heart, she still wanted to be swimming elsewhere, especially when she saw
other swimmers that were equally talented or less talented going to Division I schools to swim. In time and with prayer, Kirsten asked God to change her heart to make her want to attend and swim at Wheaton, and he did.
Now, over a year later, Kirsten is swimming at Wheaton and loves it. Her success has not stopped since attending Wheaton. This past spring, Kirsten won multiple events at Nationals. For training, Kirsten does not feel that she is treated any differently by her coaches. However, to receive proper training, Kirsten often swims with the boys’ team. She said that they challenge her, and she pushes them as well.
Kirsten is already looking ahead to the end of her swimming career. As of right now, Kirsten wants to make the 2016 Olympic trial cuts. She feels that this would be a solid way to end her swimming career. After that, Kirsten thinks she may want to pursue triathlons–minus the SpaghettiO’s.
Follow writer, Emma Gilbertson on Twitter @emmanikole29 for more highlights on life, health, and happiness.