In her second year on the team, Graeleigh Jones ’21 has proven herself an integral member of Andover Girls Swimming & Diving through her versatility and dedication to the team, according to teammates Abby Ryan ’21 and Sofia Smirnov ’21. Ryan said, “She can do every stroke, and she is always willing to swim for whatever her [team] needs her for.” Smirnov said, “She is an outstanding swimmer and she is a very well rounded swimmer… I really look up to Graeleigh, she works really hard in and out of the water.” Jones’s commitment to Andover and her contributions as a consistently high-placing member of the team has earned her The Phillipian’s accolade of Athlete of The Week.
When and why did you start swimming?
When I was about five, I started swimming on a team competitively. I’m still on the same team today outside of Andover, so it’s been about ten years now. I started swimming mainly because of my sister. She started swimming and she really liked it so I wanted to do it with her.
What is your favorite stroke?
My favorite stroke is Breaststroke or Butterfly. At the last meet I did the 100-[Meter] Breaststroke and the 200-[Meter] Freestyle. I was really excited because I was able to win both events because it was definitely a close meet.
What cheers do you do before a meet?
We do two cheers. One of them is before we start. Our coach is in the center, and the seniors make a ring around him and then everyone else circles around them. Our coach blows the whistle and we spell out Andover; that gets us really pumped up before the meet starts. When it’s a home meet, we also do a cheer right after diving where all the girls line up on the side of the pool and we do a clapping thing on the water and we all dive in. Depending in what grade you are, you swim to a certain lane and then come up.
What do you do before a meet to get ready?
In practice the day before [a meet], we do relays and we get ready that way. But before… my events, I like to listen to music and get excited with other people, that helps!
Who are your role models?
In swimming my role models are definitely girls older than me that have faster times than me. We all push each other; my teammates are my role models. Outside of swimming, my sister is also my role model.
What is your favorite part about the team?
I definitely love all the relays because we all work super well together, and the team has a lot of depth. We all can swim fast together versus other teams who have a couple fast swimmers.
Who are your biggest supporters?
My parents are my biggest supporters. My mom always tries to come to my Andover meets to support the team and me, and she [also] drives me to practices outside of Andover and takes me to meets that are really far away… [Also] the Andover team is super supportive; we all want each other to succeed, so that’s a great support system.
Who are you rooting for in the Superbowl?
I like the Patriots!