Monica Velazquez-Stiak is a sport industry major from Scottsdale, Ariz. The junior is a two-time All-American in the pool and an Academic All-Big Ten honoree in the classroom. She made an immediate impact as a freshman and has swam on the Scarlet team in each of her three seasons. Velazquez-Stiak helped lead the Buckeyes to a national title in 2015 and was on the Scarlet team that clinched the crown by winning the team competition.
How did you decide to come to OSU?
I decided I wanted to come to Ohio State during my recruit trip. I immediately fell in love with the culture of this school and I just knew that I had to be a part of it.
How long have you been doing synchronized swimming?
This is either my 12th or 13th year doing synchro. I think the lack of oxygen makes you forget how many years you’ve been swimming…
Do you have any pre-swim superstitions or rituals?
I don’t really have any rituals, but I always take a couple deep breaths to try and calm myself down. You’d think after over a decade of swimming, performing wouldn’t freak me out so much!
What is your favorite part about synchronized swimming?
My favorite part of synchro is choreographing routines. I love seeing all my teammate’s personalities come out in how they write their routines.
What is the hardest thing about synchronized swimming?
I’d say the hardest part of synchro is your mental game. Since it is a judged sport, you have to feed yourself positive thoughts and constantly remind yourself what you are working towards.
How do you balance athletics and academics?
I balance my sport and academics by staying on top of my workload, but also reminding myself that it is okay to relax every once in a while!
What is your major and why did you choose it?
My major is Sport Industry and I chose it because I love the world of sports. It is constantly changing and improving which is enticing to me.
What is your favorite study spot on campus?
Any place that also has coffee!
What is your favorite class you have taken here so far?
My favorite class that I’ve taken at OSU was a leadership studies class in my major. It was interesting to learn about all the different styles and ways in which you can be a leader.
Who do you most admire and why?
I admire my mom the most. She is an incredibly strong woman of faith and sacrificed everything to raise me and my brother. I love you, Mom!
Describe OSU in one word.
What was your favorite experience at OSU?
My favorite experience at OSU was winning a National Championship my freshman year at our home pool. That feeling and moment was totally indescribable!
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