While Emily Nicholson was focused in the pool during Fresno State’s water polo battle against Michigan on Friday, no doubt her mind was on her native New Zealand.

“It’s heartbreaking. This is the first time anything like this ever happened. We’re such a peaceful and welcoming country. For someone to go in and abuse that, it’s really heartbreaking.” — Emily Nicholson

A gunman killed at least 49 worshipers at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, earlier in the day.

The team leader in goals spoke to GV Wire about the tragedy following the game.

“My mom was actually the one that messaged me. I saw it after practice. I then went straight to Facebook, and it was just everywhere … everywhere,” she said about learning about the massacre.

Nicholson: ‘It’s Heartbreaking’

Nicholson still can’t believe something like this happened in her native land.

“It’s heartbreaking. This is the first time anything like this ever happened. We’re such a peaceful and welcoming country. For someone to go in and abuse that, it’s really heartbreaking.”

New Zealanders Are Resilient

Although the Auckland native has never been to Christchurch herself, she praises the city’s resiliency.

“They’re a tough, tough city. We’re a tough country. We stick together. We’ll rise up, we’ll get through this one again.”

Nicholson scored two goals in a 17-7 loss to the Wolverines.

Click on the video above to watch her comments.

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