Makayla Scheu; swimmer, black belt, future nurse

Category:  Sports
Wednesday, October 6th, 2021 at 9:01 AM
Makayla Scheu; swimmer, black belt, future nurse by Nate Steis
Makayla Scheu at a recent Fighting Scots swimming practice.

EDINBORO - Whether it’s in the water or in a dojo, Edinboro junior, Makayla Scheu, has showcased well roundedness as an athlete over the years. 

Growing up in suburban Buffalo, New York, Scheu had a collection of opportunities in athletics, which allowed her to begin a career in both swimming and karate at an early age. In the seventh grade, she received her first black belt, with her second coming during high school. While karate became a sport she departed with late in her high school days, swimming remains a consistent aspect of her life. 

Swimming at Eden High, Scheu believes she learned a great baseline of the sport that has served her well as her career in swimming continues to expand. “Eden swimming really helped me to learn the strokes, learn the sport of swimming, how to respect my coaches and everyone around the program, and it taught me to be responsible and build time management skills.” 

During her middle and high school days, Scheu’s career really took off and she even swam in the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) state championships three times during her high school career, a career that spanned six years because of six years of eligibility being granted to high school athletes in the state of New York. She also focused her attention on finding a collegiate program that had times close to hers that also offered a nursing degree in the region. 

From her search, she narrowed the school’s to Canisius College, Nazareth College, Youngstown State University, and Edinboro. After some visits, Scheu decided that Edinboro was the right opportunity for her college experience. 

“It was not all about going Division I for me,” said the Edinboro junior. “What I liked about Edinboro is they made it a point to make sure I would have time for school, swim, and some other opportunities during my time here.” 

So far over two college seasons, Scheu has competed in the PSAC Championships in both seasons as a member of some Fighting Scots relay teams and in some individual events. However, it has not been an easy road with COVID-19 hindering her sophomore season. 

“It has really taught me to be flexible,” she said. “Freshman year was great, but sophomore year was a tough time for everyone. Despite practices working and being a little different, I thought we pulled together well for the PSAC meet, which proved to us we could still perform well while facing a lot of adversity. It was something that really lifted our spirits.” 

At the 2021 PSAC Championships, Scheu capped her sophomore campaign with a fifth-place mark in the 50-yard freestyle and a fifth-place mark in the 100-yard freestyle as an individual. As a part of three relay teams, she was a member of a third-place team in the 200-freestyle relay and the 200-medley relay. She also helped bring home a fourth-place finish in the 400-yard medley relay. 

During the last year and a half, some athletes have become more motivated than ever, while some have struggled with restrictions and various other obstacles. For Scheu, she has used the time to her advantage and focused even harder on being the best swimmer she can be for the Fighting Scots. 

“The tough times showed me that I really did want to do this and I was going to have to fight even harder than before to continue to improve. I think that in general, the time to reflect has made me a better athlete.” 

Her remaining goals for her time as a student-athlete at Edinboro include improving her times in the 50 and 100 freestyle and in the 100-yard butterfly. Long term, she is chasing to become the school’s record holder in all three of the events and wants to swim in the NCAA Championships before her college career concludes. Beating some of these records would mean swimming a faster time than one of her former teammates and key mentors in the sport, Katelyn Kopacko, who is the latest Edinboro swimmer to qualify for the NCAA Championships. 

In the classroom, Scheu is following in her mother Laura’s shoes in order to become a nurse post-graduation. Currently, she has begun clinical rotations at UPMC Magee’s in Erie, and has completed rotations through postpartum, labor and delivery, the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), and will soon venture into pediatrics. 

She is unsure exactly what specific realm of nursing she would like to enter, but is excited for more opportunities to understand which realm could be a strong fit for her. “I am just focused on continuing to become the best nurse I can be and staying in the moment to learn all I can.” 

In her athletic career in life, it has taken a village to help her become the young woman she is today. She credits her karate instructor Butch Klawon, her high school swimming coaches, Shana Cole and Ivan Bitnun, her club swimming coach Becky Sapio, and Edinboro Head Swimming Coach, Chris Rhodes, for being great mentors and instructors throughout her time as a competitive athlete. She also shared a great deal of appreciation for her father, Doug Scheu, for always being by her side and for being one of her biggest supporters. 

For Makayla Scheu, it does not matter if it is on land or on water. She has some serious skills to be proud of. Her career in nursing is unfolding, with more opportunities in the field presenting themselves over these next four semesters. It has taken many people to help Scheu become who she is today, and she will continue to make them proud as she soon transitions from treading water to saving lives soon. she will continue to make them proud as she soon transitions from treading water to saving lives soon. 

Nate Steis, Graduate Assistant and Sports Editor | @EdinboroNow

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