Sylvia Meyer - she is either in the pool or studying.


After learning about Grand Haven senior Sylvia Meyer it was easy to imagine a scenario in which someone passing by her bedroom late in the evening might see her diligently poring over a textbook. No doubt the visitor would detect a hint of chlorine in the air. Meyer is involved in three pool based sports for the Buccaneers and to say she is a focused, hard-working student is to put it lightly.
Sylvia began competing in the pool as a seventh grader. In her freshman year some of the older girls on the swim team recruited her for the water polo team – Meyer liked it so much she is back for her fourth season. She is also a regular on the Bucs synchronized swimming team.
Varsity water polo coach Adam Briggs holds Meyer in high regard, so much so that he made her one of two captains this season. Briggs looks for leadership in and out of the pool when he considers making someone a captain. He related that Sylvia is a hard worker who always sets a good example for her teammates during practice. He cited her for being considerate and helpful to younger players – she helps them understand the finer points of the game and tries to make them comfortable from the start of the season.
Briggs also appreciates the fact that Sylvia is “even keeled” and not subject to mood swings or emotional roller coaster rides. Defense has always been the best part of her game, but she has been working on her shots and showing big improvement there. He is confident that the Bucs will be “a force to be reckoned with this season” and expects Meyer to play a big part in their success.
“I trust her to make the right decisions on defense and I am looking for more out of her offensively this season,” Briggs commented. “Sylvia is a great kid.”
Meyer took the time to explain the rigors of water polo. Players are not allowed to touch the bottom or the sides of the pool, except during time outs, and the games are made up of four seven minute quarters. To prepare for the leg work and strength this requires, Sylvia and her teammates work out on weights for an hour twice a week and their daily practices include 15-20 minutes of treading water as part of a 40 minute conditioning work-out. During swimming season she competes in the 100 breast, the 100 butterfly, and on relay teams.
“I am not that great of a swimmer,” Sylvia said with a laugh. “It is more about getting in shape for water polo.”
She told us that she came to water polo knowing nothing about the sport. Meyer confessed that the first water polo game she ever saw was the first one she competed in as a freshman on the j.v. team. By her own admission, she loves the sport and hopes to play at a club level while she is in college because it will be “more intense” than intramural play.
When we learned that her synchronized swimming overlapped with practice for water polo, it was easy to understand why she considers the pool her second home. Two days a week she was in the water from 5:30 to 7:00 am for synchronized swimming, then in class until almost 3 pm. Then she was back in the water for polo from 4-7:30 pm. (No wonder her room smells like chlorine!)
Sylvia is the older of two children born to Jon and Jeanne Meyer. Her younger sister Gwen looks up to her big sister and wants to follow her footsteps into the pool. Mom explained how her daughter can handle such a busy schedule and still excel at school work to the point where she was awarded an academic scholarship to the University of Michigan.
“Since she was born she was driven to know what she wants and how to get there,” Jeanne Meyer said. “Occasionally I slip and ask ‘Is your homework done?’ and then realize I never have to ask Sylvia that.”
Jeanne credits Sylvia with having taken the best aspects from each of her parents. Mom is a hard worker – she is the Rehab manager at North Ottawa Community Hospital. Jon is a project engineer for Fairmount Minerals and is a “focused, detail oriented individual.”
According to her mom, Sylvia has always been comfortable conversing and interacting with adults even when she was a very young child. Sylvia studies people and is a good listener in addition to being very observant – in short, she “takes everything in” that is going on around her. Up until high school, her family would have used the word “introvert” to describe Sylvia, but no longer. While she is comfortable speaking her mind, doing so is not just a grab for attention. That fact that younger sister Gwen “idolizes” Sylvia is no surprise to their mom.
“We need a lot more Sylvias in our school systems,” Jeanne concluded. “She is an excellent role model.”
We couldn’t agree more.
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