AquaMobile’s Athlete Spotlight: Nikolina Mihajlovik
Name: Nikolina Mihajlovik
School: Hartwick College, Nursing
Sport: Women’s Water Polo – Ranked 15th of Division 1 NCAA League
Motto: “If it was easy, anyone could do it”
Welcome to AquaMobile’s Athlete Spotlight! In this issue we got a chance to interview Nikolina, a young highly competitive Water polo player and nursing student attending Hartwick College in New York. She currently represents the Hartwick Hawks as a center on the women’s Water Polo team, earning the title of leading goal scorer in 2015, and ranking 3rd on the team with 82 points in 2016. Read about how getting a great start in swimming inspired her to excel, and gave her the confidence that sparked a lifelong drive to succeed in everything she set her sights on.
What Are Some of Your First Memories When it Comes to Swimming?
Some of my earliest memories of swimming are when I was young. I can recall always going for a swim in the apartment building we used to live in. One year my grandparents came to visit us in Canada. Every day I would get back from school and would make my grandpa take me swimming. Those days were always my favorite and really brought me joy. I have always had a love for swimming, and it became such a big part of my life because it helped me cope with moving to a different country when I was so young.
Joining a Team
When I joined a Water Polo team, it introduced me to new friends and opened a new world for me. Joining up with a the team helped give me a purpose. It has taught to me to love the highs and lows of life and has given me the confidence to push through anything that comes my way.
Swimming & Water Polo: A Pool of Opportunities
Playing Water polo competitively allows me to see the world and other cultures through being able to travel with my team, but it has helped me on my path to a career as well. I am currently studying at Hartwick College on an athletic scholarship. I get the benefit of competing in a highly competitive sport and at the same time get an education. Having to deal with both school and sport gets a little overwhelming but when one loves and enjoys two things equally they make time and put in the work to make both work and be successful.
How Do You Balance School & Competitive Sports?
I try to separate my time equally. I give equal time to both because I’m not just a nursing student but I am also a student of the game. When I’m on the pool deck I focus solely on Water polo and nothing else matters. The same goes for school; when I am in class I focus on that class only. The skills and drive from both parts of my life work together to help me become as successful as I can be. Having both of best worlds can be overwhelming at times but I wouldn’t change it for anything.
What Has Being On A Competitive Sports Team Taught You?
I have had an amazing time experiencing the world through Water polo and have had great experiences, but it’s not always all good. There are also difficult times, when all you want to do is quit. Times where you feel you’ve given it your all and it’s just too hard. It is during these times that being a part of a team has kept me pushing through, and I have become stronger and more confident in my ability to succeed as a result of that. Pushing through those times helped me learn that even though its rough, it’s worth it. If it was easy anyone could do it. Tough times build character and help develop an individual as a person. This mentality is how I approach everything I face now.
If You Could Give Advice to Young Water Polo Athletes What Would It Be?
My advice for other Water polo players is to keep going, there is a rainbow at the end. Water polo will drag you through the mud but you will feel very thankful looking back on the experiences, all the amazing friends and memories acquired through your time as a Waterpolo player. Plus it’s cool to say that you have played the world toughest sport.
If You Could Give Advice To Young Swimmers That Want To Play Water Polo What Would It Be?
Honestly, the transition from swimming to playing water polo is not that difficult or different. In terms of swimming skills the major differences are in swimming head up front crawl a lot, as well as having a huge focus on treading water with a strong eggbeater kick. Also keep in mind that Water Polo is a very high contact sport. You’re going to have to get used to being tackled in the water, as opposed to just playing wall tag.