The Pennant

Getting to Know: Sydney Szklarek

By BRADY SMITH

Sydney Szklarek (Sophomore) is an outstanding athlete as she does both Penn Golf AND Penn Soccer! Sydney is an extremely talented Penn athlete.

How do you balance your time between two sports and academics?: I try to balance my time by focusing on whatever is happening that day. I try and get the priorities done first and not worry about what’s happening later. My coaches are both flexible and understanding of my schedule, so they’re really awesome and definitely make it easier to keep up with everything. School comes first, but when it comes to athletic responsibilities, I just enjoy doing as much as I can.

Are both/one of these sports important to you for your future?: Both sports are definitely important for my future at Penn, but looking at a collegiate level, I’d say that soccer is my focus. I’ve been playing both soccer and golf as long as I can remember and both sports mean the world to me, but when it comes to playing competitively past high school, soccer is the goal.” 

How do you overcome a bad play?: Everyone is going to have bad moments when it comes to playing sports and it’s easy to get frustrated when that happens, but I try to overcome that by learning what needs to be learned and then moving on. Golf is an especially mental game, and my coach always tells us to play “one shot at a time,” meaning that whether it’s the best or worst shot of my life, I have to move on and focus on what’s important. The same thing applies to soccer, where you always have your teammates to help each other out. At the end of the day, it’s about getting better and having fun so as long as you keep that in mind, it’s easy to overcome any tough play.”

What do you do pre-game to warm you up for your next match?: My warm-up routine looks pretty different depending which sport I’m about to play. For soccer, there’s no better way to get ready than listening to music with my teammates and just being hyped and excited to play a game. It’s important to bring intensity and competitiveness when it’s time to play. Golf is completely different, where once I’ve made sure I’m feeling loose enough to swing good I just stay calm and prepare to adapt to the course.”

What position do you play in soccer?: I play in the center midfield for soccer. Whether I play attacking mid or holding mid switches every game, but I prefer to play holding mid because it’s involved in almost every play and feels connected.

When did you start having a passion for both sports?: I’ve played both soccer and golf as long as I can remember. I’ve always loved soccer, and just being around a soccer ball was an obsession of mine since I was little. My love for the sport has only grown since I got to high school and became a part of PGS, which is such a special program. Being able to play on the field with my big sister Grace my freshman year was when I really knew that playing soccer was one of my favorite things in the whole world. I was never really into golf as much when I was younger, but being able to be a part of a golf team at Penn has made me enjoy the sport a ton.

Who are your biggest supporters?: I am extremely lucky to have so many people looking out for me, but my biggest supporters would be my parents and siblings. My parents are the reason I’m able to do anything and without them I’d be lost. My big sister has graduated but she played both soccer and golf all four of her years at Penn too, so it was awesome to have that support from her knowing she was doing everything with me last year, and is looking out for me this year.

Who is your favorite music artist?: Ahh, it’s hard to choose a favorite, but if I had to I would probably go with Post Malone.

What is your pregame snack?: I love eating protein balls as a pre-game snack , they’re healthy and delicious.