Sydney Kochensparger grew up on the pool deck, one of the perks of being the daughter to Gateway High School's longtime Swimming and Water Polo coach.
"I grew up hearing about the teams and all the fun stuff that they got to do," said Sydney.
In middle school, she stepped away from swimming to focus her energy on another passion of hers, horseback riding. During that time, she learned she could never stay away from the pool for too long.
"In high school I wanted to get back into it. Pretty much anybody who swam also played water polo, so it was just a natural you do one you do both."
Her main events were the 200-meter free and the 500-meter free.
"The first swim meet she gave me the 500 free and the 200 IM, which are two of the most difficult events, and everyone there was like oh she’s really not going to go easy on you."
Sydney and her team accomplished a lot these last four years.
"Last year our team of 12 won Orange Belt Conferences against teams of 24 people."
Swimming has always been her second priority.
"Swim and water polo was the fun part of high school, that was the thing that I did for me."
Sydney's academic talents set her apart as Gateway's Class Valedictorian, the District's Female Academic Athlete, and helped her earn scholarships to Clark University in Massachusetts.
"It’s one thing knowing it’s just your school but out of the whole county you’re like oh that’s pretty cool."
Sydney plans to continue swimming in college while pursuing a degree in Environmental Science.
"Growing up it’s been always we care about the planet and trying to make a difference. Then my sophomore year when I took APES that’s what made me want to go into environmental science. It was something I was really interested in."