Woodland Park resident Sydney Dolloff-Holt signed her national letter of intent with the Colorado Mesa University swim and dive team on March 14.
Dolloff-Holt, a senior at Manitou Springs High School, had her signing party at Manitou as friends, teammates, coaches and teachers looked on.
“I went on recruiting trips to three schools, but when I went to Mesa, there was something just so right about it,” said Dolloff-Holt, who plans to major in veterinary medicine. “I just knew that’s where I wanted to end up.”
Dolloff-Holt won at least one medal at the state meet in each of her four years on the team. She finished with 13 medals in all, including a gold medal as a freshman when she was part of the 200 free relay team that won the Class 4A event.
Dolloff-Holt and her family have lived in Woodland Park since she was in grade school. She started swimming for the Manitou-based Colorado Torpedoes club team when she 9 and has attended Manitou schools along the way.
Her older sister, Emily, graduated from Manitou in 2017 and now swims for the University of New Hampshire on a scholarship. The sisters were teammates for two years on the high school team.
Sydney said she considered New Hampshire, but felt Mesa was a better fit. Sydney said she also has great memories of driving up and down Ute Pass to school and practices with her sister.
“It was always nice to talk with my sister in the car,” Sydney said. “We ended up getting a lot closer once we were just driving together. And our schedules worked out together to where we could sometimes just walk together to practice from school.”
Sydney’s father, Jeff, said he is proud that both of his daughters will be swimming in college.
“It’s pretty special,” he said. “Both girls have put a ton of time in the pool. Just to see the success they’ve had makes you happy as a parent.”
The girls’ mother, Handi, spoke at Sydney’s signing party and got emotional a few times.
“Jeff and I are just so proud of the choice Sydney made,” Handi said. “The school will push her academically, and she will continue to excel athletically.”
Manitou coach Roy Chaney, who also runs the Torpedoes, believes Sydney has not reached her full swimming potential. He added that she will not soon be forgotten.
“I’m going to miss Sydney a lot, and not just because she’s a great swimmer,” Chaney said. “She brings a lot to the team, both high school and club. She’s very motivated; provides great leadership. She loves what she does, and that’s contagious to the rest of the team.”
Sydney and her Manitou teammates got the chance to compete in a dual meet against Woodland Park, a first-year program, this winter at the Woodland Aquatic Center. Sydney set the pool record in the 100 butterfly, and along with her teammates pool records in the 200 medley and free relays.
“It’s good that Woodland Park has already built a foundation and it’s good that they got a team going in the first year that the pool was built, which is going to help them a lot,” Sydney said.