Athlete of the Week: Sydney Covitz ’20

Last weekend the Track and Field teams competed in their Centennial Conference championships at Franklin and Marshall College. Several Garnet athletes earned medals, contributing to Swarthmore’s third place finish in the conference. Of the winners, dual-sport athlete Sydney Covitz ’20 ran a 2:19:61 in the 800-meter run, adding to five other events she has won in the past three meets. Last year, Covitz was nominated to the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association’s All-Region team for the 800 and has All-Centennial Conference honors in both track and field and soccer. She was part of the United Soccer Coaches All-Mid-Atlantic Region Second Teams and Scholar All-East Region Second Teams twice for soccer. In addition to her athletic accolades, Covitz has twice been named to the Philadelphia Inquirer Academic All-Area team and has been a part of the Centennial Conference honor roll every year.

Ben Lau: How did you choose Swarthmore?

Sydney Covitz: I went to an ID clinic for soccer sophomore year of high school. I visited campus junior year and absolutely loved everything about this place. I got to sit in on two classes with some of the soccer players and was completely blown away. I verbally committed to Swat summer before senior year and applied early decision.  

BL: What are you studying and what do you hope to do post graduation?

SC: I am a Computer Science and English Literature double major. Post graduation, I would love to do something research based, preferably involving robotics. I am currently looking for a job; someone please hire me! 

BL: What has your experience been like as a dual sport athlete? 

SC: I have always been a soccer player and very much identify as such, but track is newer for me. When I was a senior in high school and my brother Jonah was a sophomore, we both decided to try track and ended up having a great time. We ended up on the same team again at Swat, which I think is pretty cool. Being on a team with your sibling is a unique experience, especially at the collegiate level; we are very lucky. 

BL: Do you have an athletic achievement you’re most proud of?

SC: I have a lot of great memories from both soccer and track, but my favorite athletic achievement so far has to be beating Hopkins 5-1 in soccer in the conference championship junior year. 

BL: What has been your most memorable experience at Swarthmore?

SC: My most memorable experience at Swarthmore isn’t really a singular experience. The best part about Swarthmore, for me, has undoubtedly been the friends I have made here, many of whom are on soccer or track. On the soccer field, we have each other’s backs — it’s us against whoever the other team is. While we are out there, we literally have to protect and defend each other. I think that attitude translates so well into a culture of teammates looking out for each other off the field. If you piss off someone on the soccer team, you better be ready for a whole lot of hate coming your way from 30+ individuals. Of course we are all independent humans who think for ourselves, but I think the fact that we support and stand up for each other is a pretty beautiful thing. I see this with track as well. Although the team is a lot bigger, rendering the blind-loyalty-in-bulk effect a little harder to pull off, my experience with the track team is that you will always have someone in your corner. The large size of the team can work well here because whatever kind of support you might need, there is a good chance one of your many teammates will know how best to help. In short, the soccer and track teams are two absolutely outstanding groups of people, and I feel so lucky to have been a part of these crazy amazing entities for four years.

BL: What’s your pre-match or pre-meet routine?

SC: I like drinking coffee three hours before a game or race. I also really like wearing my orange scrunchie while competing for no real reason other than I think it’s fun. 

BL: Is there anything else you’d like to say?

SC: Some people think track is an individual sport, but it really isn’t. First of all, the relays are the absolute best part of track (especially 4×400, which is my favorite event to run). Even for the individual events, none of us could do half as well as we do training on our own. You push yourself so hard every day because your teammates are right there next to you, grinding it out with you. For example, sophomore middle distance runner Rose Teszler ’22 and I do a lot of training together. Rose has been running killer times this year, which is awesome, and we love to push each other during practice. It makes both of us better. Another cool thing about the track team is that all genders practice together, so there is a lot of mutual respect across genders going on that you don’t always see with other sports. Finally, shout out to the entire track team for killing it at Indoor Conferences last weekend. There were a lot of PRs, which is really exciting, and we are definitely ready to get started on outdoor!

Feature Image courtesy of Isabelle Titcomb for The Phoenix

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