Junior swimmer Sienna Karp commits to Penn State

Josephine Meriot

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WJ junior Sienna Karp standing besides the Penn State Nittany Lion mascot to announce her verbal commitment to Penn State University for swim and dive. “Penn State is the right place for me so I am honored that they would have me as a part of their team,” Karp said.

On Jan. 17, junior Sienna Karp verbally committed to Penn State University to pursue her athletic and academic career. The division one school is known for its competitive BIG10 athletics programs making Karp’s commitment an even greater accomplishment, especially as a junior.

Swimming since she was 7 years old, Karp was enrolled in swimming lessons by her mom in order for her to go to the ocean with her cousins without drowning. Following the lessons, the teacher was impressed with her abilities. As recommended by the swim instructor, she joined a swim team and now Karp currently represents All Star Aquatics and mainly competes in breaststroke.

Karp (right) posing with freshman Isla Bartholomew during one of their recent meets. The girls team has been doing incredibly this season and they owe it a lot to the encouragement of Karp as a captain and her performance as a top swimmer. (Photo courtesy of WJSD Instagram)

As soon as she was interested in Penn State, Karp rapidly began making connections and relationships with the coaches. Austin Pillado, a coach for breaststroke at Penn State came to watch a WJ meet and practice.

“This gave him the opportunity to get to know me and for me to get to know him. Then, the next weekend, I went on an official visit where I met the team and the other staff. I instantly fell in love and that is when I made my verbal commitment,” Karp said.

Ecstatic that Penn State wanted Karp to join their team, she visited the campus twice and felt it was the place for her. When meeting the coaches and team, Karp observed an overwhelmingly successful collaboration between the two and immediately knew that this relationship would be difficult to find elsewhere.

“The coaches are amazing. You can tell that they work really well together and the team had nothing but good things to say about them,” Karp said.

Although numerous other schools reached out during her recruitment process, Karp felt a strong connection with Penn State, and knew that academically, alongside her swim career, she would have many paths and most importantly be supported in whichever direction she chose.

“Penn State offered so many academic support options and so many majors and although I haven’t fully decided on a major, I know that I will be supported on any path I decide to take. It also snowed [on her second campus visit] while I was there which was a lot of fun,” Karp said.

The never ending support from her parents encouraged Karp to continue regardless of challenging moments. Similarly to many competitive athletes, despite how much she loved the sport and how much it has given her, difficult moments raised the question of quitting. Nonetheless, Karp never surrendered and always fell back to realizing how much she loved it. Due to her persistence and determination, Karp is now able to swim at the next level as a Nittany Lion.