A former gymnast, Captain Emelie Eldracher ’18 has translated her strengths in the acrobatic sport to the swimming pool as an active member of Andover Girls Swimming & Diving. Eldracher picked up diving her Junior year after receiving encouragement from Coach Belinda Wolf.
“I had seen the platforms and the three-meter [diving board] at a couple pools in Germany, and I remember thinking how cool it was to see the teams that went up there and used them. When I learned that [Andover] had a diving team, I was like ‘Why not? I just have to try it!’ ” said Eldracher.
After joining Andover’s team, Eldracher immediately fell in love with the sport. According to Eldracher, the satisfaction of vaulting over the anxiety that accompanies each of her dives is the source of her relentless enjoyment of the sport.
“One of the things I love most about diving is the feeling when you get a new dive or [when] you’re redoing a dive that you feel nervous about… It’s that sense of accomplishment you feel after overcoming your fears and the excitement of getting those new dives that makes it so, so worth it,” said Eldracher.
Eldracher’s unwavering dedication to her team and the sport is clear to her teammates, according to Reese Pelletier ’20.
“Emelie comes to every one of our meets, home or away, [whether] she is competing or not,” said Pelletier.
According to Claire Davis ’20, Eldracher takes special care to make every member of the team feel supported and encouraged at all times, especially before meets.
“Emelie is always… so supportive. She knows all of our lists, and before every meet she gives us all little notes and candy telling us how proud of us she is and that we are going to do great,” said Davis.
“Emelie is such a great captain… Without Emelie we wouldn’t have motivational letters and candy before meets, big hugs when we struggle to get a dive, or her bubbly personality at practice,” said Pelletier.
As captain, Eldracher hopes to encourage her teammates to believe in their abilities and push themselves outside of their comfort zones.
“My goal this season… is to support [my teammates] in any dive that they decide to take on. I know that each one of them can do anything if they set their mind to it, and I hope I can help show them how fearless and awesome they are,” said Eldracher.
“If I could give one piece of advice to aspiring divers, it would be to just try it! It’s [a] very, very mental sport. You just have to get over that mental block that’s like ‘Oh my goodness this is totally strange,’ and if you can just get over that, it is so, so worth it. Like [Coach Wolf] said to me on my first day, the only requirement is ‘Can you float up from the bottom of the pool?’ There’s definitely no experience necessary — just go out there and have fun!” continued Eldracher.
Eldracher will lead Andover Girls Swimming & Diving in a home meet against Hopkins on Saturday, February 10.