We Hear Americans are Crazy

Written by Miles McQuinn

Any student-athlete at The Ohio State University has the normal pressure of living up to the expectations of one of the most premier names in collegiate athletics.

If a coach brings you from more than 4,000 miles away, those expectations ramp up a bit.

Now 19 games into her Buckeye field hockey career, freshman midfielder Sina Schwinn has lived up to those expectations and then some.

Hailing from Rheinbach, Germany, Schwinn was sold on Ohio State because the university did what it does best for prospective student-athletes.

It sells itself.

“I really liked it here because of the campus and the school spirit,” Schwinn said.

A three-sport athlete growing up, Schwinn also participated in gymnastics and played tennis. The burden of school and time commitment issues forced her to narrow her athletic career to one sport.

It’s safe to say she made the right choice.

Schwinn became a standout on the national stage, playing for the West Germany junior national team from 2013-16.

When deciding on what to do following high school, Schwinn had her sights set on America for one of the same reasons her Spanish teammate Esther Clotet did; combining school and field hockey is a challenging task in Rheinbach.

“When I would study in Germany and we would have a game over the weekend … (the professors wouldn’t) care about it,” Schwinn said. “(Combining school and sports) doesn’t work out that well.”

For international field hockey players, they don’t enjoy the same luxuries recruitment-wise that Americans do. U.S. players are more likely to be noticed in-person while international players have to put together a highlight tape and send it off to coaches in order to receive their recognition.

For Schwinn, her ultimate goal of finding the perfect balance of field hockey and school in the United States was a process that took more than a year. Her highlight video was part one of the journey while paperwork and interviews with collegiate staffs were essential to increasing her chances of landing a scholarship.

Enter second-year head coach Jarred Martin and the Buckeyes.

“The more I was able to connect with her, the more I was able to see what she wanted out of the program, out of her future university and out of the academics,” Martin said. “I thought this was going to be a great match.”

After visiting central Ohio with her family, Schwinn had found her future home.

“I thought this was going to be a great match.”

Schwinn had a big taste of the United States prior to life in Columbus, visiting cities as far west as Los Angeles to cities in the southeast such as Miami and Orlando, but Hollywood seemingly painted an accurate picture of what life is like.

“I knew a little bit about the lifestyle,” Schwinn said. “It’s pretty similar to what we see in American movies … We often hear that Americans are crazy.”

Anyone that has been on Ohio State’s campus on a fall Saturday can attest that probably fits the description pretty well.

After arriving in August, the process for Schwinn to blend in to a new team and a new culture took a few weeks.

“All the new faces and everyone speaks English,” Schwinn said. “I think we did a lot of team events which helped me with becoming familiar with the style of hockey we play here and the team.”

New faces is a theme for this year’s team as the Buckeyes have 11 freshmen. They’ve gelled quicker than Ohio’s weather changes.

“I like every single one of them,” Schwinn said. “Hanging out with them every day helped me to (come out of my shell).”

“I like every single one of them. Hanging out with them every day helped me to (come out of my shell).”

Not one to stay within the bubble of her own team, Schwinn is an avid supporter of all things scarlet and gray.

“She loves going to sporting events,” freshman midfielder Emma Goldean said. “She’s very active in being an Ohio State student and supporting the teams. She’s adjusted really well.”

Understandably a bit shy at first, Schwinn has quickly grown into one of the outgoing personalities on the team.

“She’s able to crack a lot of jokes,” Goldean said while chuckling, “She takes sarcasm pretty well and she’ll dish it back to you.”

Schwinn has been a key contributor for the No. 19 Buckeyes this year. She’s currently tied for the freshman goal scoring lead with four paired with two assists.

Despite her impressive attributes and on field success in her young career, Schwinn is continuously is striving to better herself.

“She has some things she wants to work on in her head so she’ll reach out to someone on the coaching staff to come in early or stay late to work on that,” Ohio State assistant coach Kate Lipton said. “That’s a culture within the team.”

Regardless of what happens during the Buckeyes’ postseason run, the team is excited for what the future holds for Schwinn.

“Whether or not she’s putting the ball on the cage, she’s a playmaker,” Lipton said. “We’re excited that we have her for three more years.”

As for Schwinn herself, between her team, her love of American food and the kindness she has seen towards herself around campus on a daily basis, she couldn’t be more satisfied with her home away from home.

“It’s amazing what I can see and do here every day,” Schwinn said.

Following Ohio State’s 1-0 double overtime win over then No. 10 Rutgers in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals, the Buckeyes have a semifinal date Friday against No. 2 Maryland at 1 p.m. on Friday in Evanston, Ill.