Captain Villareal, Four-Year Varsity Swimmer, Sets the Standard By Inspiring Teammates With Her Dedicated, Positive Attitude

A four-year member of the Girls Varsity Swim team, Carly Villareal is the highlight of The Phillipian Sports’ third issue of the Captain Spotlight. Flying in from Portola Valley, CA, Villareal has swum year round since age eight, and continues to do so at Andover. Dedication to swimming, teamed with personableness and an inspiring approach, highlights Villareal as a stand-out on the Varsity lineup. As captain, she is well respected by teammates for her infectious positive attitude, her dedication and her natural leadership ability. In competition, Villareal’s strongest events include the 200- yard and 500-yard Freestyle. Villareal placed a remarkable tenth place in both her events at Interschols last season, but her success has not always been so triumphant. It has been through many long hours in the pool that this captain rose to prominence. In fact, Villareal has managed to drop 20 seconds in her 500 Freestyle alone since freshman year. Such dramatic improvement is proof of dedication and hard work in competitive swimming. Villareal’s enthusiastic drive and persistence in the face of challenges pushes the rest of the girls to mirror her perseverance. Of Villareal’s attitude in the water, teammate Abby Levene ’09 said, “Carly is the definition of inspiration. Everyday, she is the one that cheers us up during grueling practices. She gives everything she has into each set, motivating us to all always do the same.” Stephanie Moroney ’09 added, “She sets an example for everyone, always working her hardest while making swimming fun for the team.” Not only does Villareal set a good example with her positive attitude and strong work ethic, her presence always includes a few cheerful laughs along the way. Her jokes are popular among the team and she presents herself not only as someone to look up to, but also a companion—a goal she set for herself upon receiving captaincy. “I think it is important that the captain be not just a link with the coaches but also a friend,” she said, “Being captain in that respect is pretty much the easiest job ever.” While finding great success as a swimmer and remaining a very approachable captain, Villareal also manages to bring leadership and coherence to a team that faced tough challenges earlier this season. The team faced its first lost in more than ten meets earlier this season, yet Villareal led the team off the pool deck with just as much pride and confidence for the swimmers as she arrived with. Both coaches Paul Murphy and Catherine Carter noted, “No one was surprised when Carly was elected captain. True to form, she has guided the team proudly and graciously through both glorious victories and narrow defeats.” Her genuine love for the sport as well as the team shows everyday. She commented, “One of the reasons I love being captain is because previous captains have been role models for me and their encouragement contributed greatly to my personal improvement. I like to feel like I’m giving something back. I’m not swimming in college, so this is my last season—which is really scary for me—and I can’t believe it. This team has been everything to me.” Four-year teammate Erika Roddy ’07 said, “Carly has managed to find the perfect balance between leading by example and leading by her words. Carly’s drive, unfailingly positive attitude, constant enthusiasm, and willingness to make herself the butt of jokes has bound our team together, creating the fusion of fun and hard work that defines our team.” In coming weeks, Villareal and the rest of the team will prepare for Interschols, always the climax of the winter. Villareal will surely keep team morale high despite a stained record to finish the season successfully.