The Catholic University of America

Athlete Draws Accolades on and off the Field

Mary Swarthout had offers to play lacrosse for Division I athletics programs at other universities, but none of them promised her what she really wanted: a chance to play sports and still graduate with a nursing degree in four years.

“Those schools made it clear that nursing was one of the hardest majors to complete while playing Division I lacrosse,” says Swarthout. “In the end I wanted to make sure that I could graduate with a nursing degree in four years and Catholic University was the perfect place to do that. It was not easy to turn down Division I offers at the time, but I would not change my decision.”

In May, she graduated with a degree in nursing, earned in four years with a 3.7 grade point average while she was a member of the lacrosse and field hockey teams. During her junior and senior years, she was named by the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association as a First Team All-American. She made Third Team All-American in her freshman and sophomore years. In addition to several other conference accolades in both field hockey and lacrosse, she was named Landmark Conference Lacrosse Player of the Year in 2010, 2011, and 2012. She helped her teams win five conference championships, four in lacrosse and one in field hockey.

“I loved getting to be a part of not just one but two amazing teams which became one large family and support system for me,” says Swarthout.

Although nursing required a lot of studying in addition to the hours spent practicing, training, and competing, Swarthout says that being involved in sports actually made her a better student.

“In high school, I always ended up doing better in school during a sports season and I found it to be the same way at CUA,” she explains. “Having a sports schedule to work around helped me do my work in a more timely fashion. I was very passionate about my major and both field hockey and lacrosse, so I was determined to make it work.”

When she wasn’t hitting the books or the playing field, Swarthout found time to volunteer, often with her teammates. She participated in the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service with her lacrosse team all four years. She helped out with Special Olympics and volunteered at the nearby Armed Forces Retirement Home with her field hockey team. During her senior year, she was vice president of the Student Athletic Advisory Committee, which supports CUA’s sports teams and promotes University sporting events through fundraisers for charities, such as a dodgeball tournament held this past year to benefit Special Olympics.

In honor of her dedication to athletics, academics, and service, Swarthout received the Mary J. O'Dwyer Flynn Memorial Award (the highest honor given to a junior woman who has at least a 3.7 grade point average, has taken a prominent leadership role, and has exemplified the highest ideals of Christianity) during her junior year and the Marian Award (the second highest honor awarded to a senior woman who has at least a 3.5 grade point average and exhibits distinguished leadership, responsibility, and service to the University and fellow students) during her senior year. Of all the awards she’s received, Swarthout says the Marian Award is the one that means the most to her because “it is in honor of Our Lady.”

Swarthout will begin a nursing job at Georgetown University Hospital at the end of July.


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Mary Swarthout

Hometown: Rockville, Md.
Athlete you most admire: My dad
Favorite spot near campus: The fountain at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
Favorite class at CUA: “Health Assessment”
Best song to listen to before a game: “Welcome to D.C.” by Mambo Sauce