It hadn't quite hit Maggie Aroesty yet. It was a few days after the Long Beach freshman won the 100-yard breaststroke at the New York State Swimming and Diving Championships in Ithaca. Sure, she knew her accomplishment was impressive, especially for someone so young. But she wasn't quite sure how to process her newfound success. Then, she opened her mailbox.
There it was -- a recruiting letter from the University of Nebraska.
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"That really made it sink it,'' Aroesty said. "I am still young to be thinking about schools, but I think it's good to start to think about the next stage of my life and what I'm going to do after high school.''
If Nebraska's letter wasn't enough to validate Aroesty's status as champion, the tales she told to family and friends over Thanksgiving dinner certainly sealed it.
"It was fun,'' Aroesty said about the attention she received. "Explaining the race to my family really helped me realize what happened.''
What happened was her winning time of 1 minute, 4.10 seconds, something she attributes to her training regimen.
"During practice, I work on my technique a lot,'' Aroesty said. "At competitions, I think I do better because I have a lot of training under my belt.''
Aroesty was seeded No. 1 for the state final after her prelim time of 1:04.33, but she still felt like an underdog.
"I knew that the other girls were older and they were going to be coming for me,'' Aroesty said. "That really helped push me through the race.''
Midway through the race, Aroesty said she felt her competitors gaining on her.
"I could see them in my peripheral vision and could feel the water churning,'' Aroesty said. "I could also see my coaches at the end of the pool. That really pushed me through.''
Now the bar is set. One championship down. Three more to go.
"I want to try and win all four years,'' Aroesty said. "It's definitely going to be tough. But, with the right amount of training, I think I'll have a good chance.''