Student Athlete Spotlight: Mary Codevilla

Cayden Justice, Reporter

COVID-19 has filled the past year with delay and disappointment. For many athletes, endless “postponements” that later lead to cancellations has put a dent in their motivation and their goals. However, two-time boco preps swimmer of the year and three-time 4a individual state champion, Mary Codevilla, has continued to push forward and chase down her aspirations despite this odd year. While the pandemic has had an extreme impact on swimmers in particular (they couldn’t even get in a pool for the first few months of quarantine), groups like her club team have scheduled zoom workouts every day just to stay fit. Codevilla explained, “It was really tough to stay motivated. If we couldn’t do a Zoom call together as a team, we just got a couple teammates together and worked out together and stayed motivated that way… just to stay face to face.”


Codevilla described the process of virtual college recruiting. “It started in June and it was very different because of COVID,” Mary comments on the topic. “Usually schools fly you out to take official recruiting trips and you get to see the school, meet the swimmers, the coaches […] all that was not allowed because USA swimming had a recruiting dead period, which means no in-person interactions or recruiting trips or anything. So I did everything virtually, which was kind of crazy because it’s really scary making that big of a decision without interaction.” Codevilla eventually ended up committing to Notre Dame as a part of Niwot’s graduating class of 2022! She said, “My plan was to not commit until senior year, but fell in love with Notre Dame. I absolutely loved it when I visited and I love talking to the coaches and the girls there. I’m just so grateful and excited for the opportunity to swim there in two years.“ 


However, Codevilla is only a Junior, and before she gets to Notre Dame she has two more seasons swimming for Niwot. Swimming was recently approved by CHASA to hold a 2021 season despite COVID-19 concerns. Over the next two years, her goal is to qualify for the Olympic Trials meet and set a new Colorado state record in the 500 freestyle. Codevilla says that ever since she started swimming year-round at age 10, her “[parents, coaches, and teammates] haven’t limited me. I’ll tell somebody my goals and they’ll be like, ‘you can do it!’… I set very high expectations for myself and to have people believe in me means a lot.” While talking about her club coach, Grant Holicky, she explains how he is the one that inspired her to not back down from a challenge and always chase down her dreams. “He coached me for the last two years and then he stepped back to go back to school and to focus on his kids and I really admire that… No matter how old you are he taught me to never stop trying and never stop shooting for my dreams,” she says. 


Chasing these dreams is not always easy; it takes an unwavering determination. Codevilla trains six to seven times a week for two hours at a time in addition to strength training sessions outside of the pool. Additionally, she has to balance her intense training schedule with schoolwork. She says, “You have to manage your time really well. It’s still something I’m figuring out… Junior year is a tough one. But you just have to plan ahead and make sure you get everything done on time so that you can get in enough sleep and the next day you’re not crushed. It’s about having a good cycle.” 


To some, the stress and pressure might seem suffocating. When asked how she mentally deals with stress, Codevilla says, “The mental game is definitely huge in swimming. I try not to think about it until before I get up behind the blocks.  I’ll try to distract myself by listening to music or talking to one of my teammates.” Mary also stresses the importance of simply loving what you’re doing, saying that “If you’re tense, it’s not going to go well so just have fun. You’ll do better, and it’ll be more enjoyable.” With so much drive, determination, and immense joy for swimming, there’s no doubt that Mary Codevilla is a name to watch out for as she continues to accomplish everything she’s set her mind to.