The Toast of New Jersey?
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Courtesy of Harvey Yavener
The Times of Trenton
PRINCETON TOWNSHIP, N.J. -- So many sports. So many teams. So many athletes. So many who seem to fall through the cracks.
Quickie Quiz: Who is the best collegiate athlete in all Central Jersey?
You're wrong unless you answered "Alicia Aemisegger." And if you answered "Alicia Aemisegger," maybe it's time to get checked for chlorine overload.
That's right. She's a swimmer. A Princeton junior, majoring in politics, but anyone looking for her is advised to check at DeNunzio Pool. Except not many go looking for her. College swimmers don't get much attention.
Unless they're Nelson Diebel.
Maybe you remember Diebel. The Peddie graduate who went on to Princeton and got plenty of attention when he won two gold medals at the 1992 Olympics. Got his picture on the covers of the big newsweeklies. Nelson Diebel, who was flamboyant, to say the least. Great copy. Jumping off balconies and the like. Princeton has had other Olympic medal winners, including Jed Graef, who won gold in the 1964 Games; had a handful of NCAA champions, but if you remember any Tiger man, it's almost surely Diebel.
From the time Princeton went coed as the 1970s arrived, swimming has been a prominent part of its women's athletic scene. Olympian Cathy Corcione was the first of a galaxy of standout Tiger women, whose legion includes such less-than-household names as Charlotte Tiedemann, Pam Franklin, Nathalie Wunderlich, my personal favorite Grace Cornelius and Carwai Seto, as well as a large group of gifted divers. But none came closer to an NCAA championship than Aemisegger's silver medal in the ultra-demanding 400-IM as a freshman.
She earned All-America honors in the maximum three events she swam that year, then came back last winter to win three more of those precious awards plus another for leading the Tiger 800-meter relay to All-America status, something no Princeton foursome had done since 1991.
Now it's time for her junior heroics, time for the Ivy League Championships, which begin Thursday at East Meadow, Long Island, a high-powered showdown in which the unbeaten Tigers look for their ninth title of this decade (all but a runner-up finish in 2005) and face the challenge of a remarkably deep Harvard team.
Up ahead is the NCAA Championships at Texas A&M, March 19-21, and maybe that first Princeton women's gold. And after that, well it's a big world ...
For the continuation of the story, head to the Times of Trenton.