BRUNSWICK — Felicia Pasadyn knew she could swim at the next level, but the Brunswick standout looked well beyond the water.
Armed with a 4.58 grade-point average and ranked No. 1 in a class of 646, Pasadyn wanted to major in neurobiology.
The 2018 Gazette MVP looked at Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Duke and the University of Pennsylvania. All provided great academic and athletic experiences, but the Crimson kept standing out.
“A lot of people, especially in swimming, look for big swim schools,” she said. “For me, the No. 1 was what was the best academic-wise for me. That was the No. 1 priority. I wasn’t specifically looking for the swimming. It just happened to help that Harvard has an amazing swim team.
“Harvard has such an amazing academic rigor. I think it’s going to be challenging, yet doable. They have so many opportunities, especially for their science program. That’s something I can’t wait for, and it was the something that showed me it was the school for me because of how amazing their academic programs are. I’ve always put academics first ever since I was young. It made sense to carry that into my college decision.”
Harvard isn’t new to the reigning Division I state champion in the 100-yard backstroke.
Her oldest sister, Selena Pasadyn, a 2012 Brunswick graduate, ran cross country for the Crimson. Another sister, 2017 Brunswick graduate Cassandra Pasadyn, is a sophomore at Harvard and swims the backstroke.
That familiarity will make things easier when Felicia steps on campus as a 17-year-old freshman.
“It’s such a great area, and my sisters have had such great experiences there,” she said. “My oldest is doing such amazing things in medical school now that I knew, ‘Hey, if that’s how Harvard shaped her into who she is today, then obviously it must be a phenomenal school.’
“Not only having been on campus before but also just having a sister there at the same time is going to be so amazing. Just having a family member there is going to make that transition from senior year of high school, where you’re at home, you’re in your hometown, you’re living with your parents, you don’t really have to do that much on your own to freshman year where a lot of things are on your own.
“That’s the great thing about having a sister there. She’ll be a junior when I’m a freshman, so I don’t have to do it on my own. She’ll be there the whole time. Every morning practice, every lift we do, she’ll be right there and I’ll be able to talk to her about anything I need.”
From a swimming standpoint, Felicia Pasadyn won’t have to worry about much.
If things continue to go like they have, she’ll leave as arguably the greatest swimmer in Medina County history.
The three-time All-Gazette selection is a five-time All-Ohioan and holds every county record except the 50 freestyle and 200 medley relay.
“To be on the Harvard swim and dive team, you also have to bring something to the table that isn’t just, ‘Oh, do you have a good GPA, class rank, ACT and fast swimming times?’” she said. “They exaggerate being a good person with good character. You’re bringing something to the swim team that isn’t just your academics and athletics.
“Along with my academic and athletic record, I think I bring an air of positivity to the team. I’m involved in a lot of extracurriculars at my school. I have quite a few leadership positions in them and just feel like with the experience I’ve had in and out of the classroom shows I am bringing a lot to the table at Harvard.”