When Niwot’s Mary Codevilla first picked up swimming, Regis Jesuit’s Missy Franklin was starting to make a splash on the world stage.
Codevilla was just 7 years old when Franklin stunned the world competition at the 2012 London Olympics, earning four gold medals and a bronze in the sport. Two years later, a movie about Franklin, Touch the Wall, was released.
“When I was growing up in the world of swimming, she was breaking world records and she was from Colorado which was huge,” Codevilla said. “As a little girl, I think there was a movie that came out about her, and I got that movie and I would watch it before most of my meets and see how she trained and how she trained really hard and was super dedicated to her sport, how she raced, how she competed.”
That role model, a fellow Coloradan to boot, served as Codevilla’s inspiration from a young age as she found her passion in the pool. At the time, she was juggling a number of other sports, including basketball and volleyball, but she eventually whittled it down just to swimming around the age of 10.
Her father, Pete, recalled her first-ever lap across the pool.
“The first time she got in a pool and swam across it at practice, she looked up and she said, ‘Do I get to do that again?’ She must have been 6 or 7 years old,” he said. “From there, you couldn’t keep her out of the water and it’s been a love and a passion of hers ever since.”
Her intensity and competitiveness, though always present in every sport she tried, became hyperfocused in the water. As she began joining club teams, finessing her techniques and dropping times to impressive numbers amid tough competition, she stuck to one mantra.
“I try to be (Franklin) every day, in the pool and out.”
Now, as Codevilla wraps up her high school career with two more individual-event state titles — seven in all, and state records in both the 500-yard freestyle (4 minutes, 51.98 seconds, set as a junior) and the 100 breaststroke (1:00.84 as a senior) — she can take pride in all of the medals, all of the recognition and the state history she made along the way.
For the fourth year in a row, she earned BoCoPreps.com’s girls swimmer of the year for being unlike any other swimmer this area has seen in that time span. She earned CHSAA’s 4A swimmer of the year honors as well this season to cap off an incredible career.
Codevilla chalked her success up to versatility in the pool, as she made a point to hit state-qualifying times for every non-diving event three out of her four high school years. It certainly doesn’t hurt that she trains every day with fellow local state champions, Fairview’s Karolina Bank and Morgan Lukinac, with her Elevations Athletics club team there to push her to be her absolute best.
Codevilla said she couldn’t do it without them.
“I like my variety,” she said. “I don’t like being stuck in one spot and having to swim only one thing. It’s definitely made me a lot stronger and I think that has to do with my training and the hard work me and my teammates put in every day in pushing each other.”
Now, with her high school career in the rearview mirror, Codevilla will turn her attention toward what she hopes will be an equally illustrious college career with Notre Dame. Her versatility, intensity and sheer talent should serve her well as she moves deeper and deeper into the world of competitive swimming. She won’t soon be forgotten in Colorado high school athletics.