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Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Coronavirus

UH swimming and diving alumna Peyton Kondis ready for new chapter in life after abrupt end to senior season


Peyton Kondis was named the 2019-20 American Athletic Conference Co-Swimmer of the Year in her senior season with Houston. | Courtesy of UH athletics

Peyton Kondis was named the 2019-20 American Athletic Conference Co-Swimmer of the Year in her senior season with Houston. | Courtesy of UH athletics

As the University enters a new semester that seems to include an attempt to have competitions in the fall, UH swimming and diving alumna Peyton Kondis begins a new chapter in her own life away from Houston as well.

After her senior season was abruptly cut short due to COVID-19, Kondis never got the opportunity to compete in the NCAA championships that were going to be held in Athens, Georgia.

But, after being several months removed from the season’s end, the Pittsburgh native has learned to accept how things turned out.

“The way everything happened was really fast,” Kondis said in a phone interview with The Cougar on Thursday.

 “I think that originally, it was hard to accept that it was ending the way I never really imagined it would. (But) I think that just knowing that I was able to accomplish what I wanted to … knowing that those accomplishments couldn’t be taken away even though the physical opportunities were, I think that helped me come to terms with the way everything ended.”

Kondis is no stranger when it comes to accolades. She has garnered over 20 awards in her time with the Cougars, as well as was on the team for the four straight seasons that Houston won the American Athletic Conference championships.

With Kondis now set to attend the University of Pittsburgh in the fall to start graduate school, she can now reflect on her successful time in Houston. 

“I look back at it very fondly,” Kondis said. “I think that I can very confidently say that if I had to decide to do it all over again, to swim in college, that I would 100 percent go to Houston no matter what every time.”

One thing that stood out to Kondis was the camaraderie she was able to build with her teammates, and while she has slowly removed herself from official team meetings, she is still in contact with some of them and is excited to see where they take the program in the future.

“They have a really good foundation there, and (the team) has a lot of good leadership in all of the upperclassmen,” Kondis said. “I think that if they get to perform this year, they’re going to have a breakout year. Maybe even more so than we’ve had in the past.

“I have a lot of faith in the girls left behind.”

While the AAC has given football, soccer and volleyball the green light to prep for a fall season, a lot still remains uncertain with the swimming and diving team. Kondis’ biggest advice to them as they navigate the unknown is simple.

“Lean on each other and stay in contact,” she said. 

When it comes to Kondis herself, her journey at Pitt is to study clinical rehabilitation and mental health counseling with the goal to one day become a counselor or therapist and potentially even work with student athletes in the future.

When it comes to swimming competitions, Kondis is prepared to leave that chapter behind in Houston as well.

“I think I’m ready to move on,” she said.

“I’ve gotten (in) the pool once or twice since March just to see if I really miss it, and I think I miss the atmosphere of swimming, competing in swimming and being on a team. But I am ready to say goodbye to the sport itself and just move on to the next phase in my life.”

For more of The Cougar’s coronavirus coverage, click here.

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