Mamie Wilson ’20 began her water polo career playing in a youth boys league in her home state of California, which did not offer a girls team. Now, at Andover, she’s continued her water polo career as Co-Captain of Andover Girls Water Polo.
Overall, Wilson enjoys the fast-paced nature and collaborative aspect of the sport.
“I like that it’s really dependent on a lot of teamwork and communication, you can’t just ignore everyone else and play. You have to be constantly looking, and I like that it’s really kind of a fast-paced sport, there’s a lot of going back and forth, so I think that’s something that’s really fun,” said Wilson.
Wilson’s presence brings high energy and humor to the team before games and during practice, according to Head Coach Jill Meyer ’08 and teammate Sofia Smirnov ’22.
Meyer said, “Mamie is very energetic and positive. She’ll be someone to get the music going and to hype people on the bus or get them excited to be there, and she’s always smiling. She will give you a hug or a high-five and ask how your day is going, so she’s very supportive emotionally and is very sunny.”
Smirnov added, “She’s a really funny person, she always includes aspects of comedy when needed during practice, and she’s also always there to give us an extra positive bump when we need it. When things get difficult in practice or games, she gives us an extra push of motivation.”
Wilson looks up to previous Co-Captains Eastlyn Frankel ’18 and Emma Chatson ’18 for tips on how to best lead and support the team.
Wilson said, “I’ve really looked up to Emma and Eastlyn who were the Captains last year,; they’re really a big inspiration for me because of how well they were able to handle themselves and the rest of the team. Whenever anything was an issue, or someone wasn’t feeling good about a game, Emma and Eastlyn were really good about being supportive.”
According to Meyer and Jackie Rossi ’20, Wilson’s strong shooting ability and game awareness make her a valuable player in the pool.
Meyer said, “She has a really scary hard shot. When Mamie shoots the ball it’s frightening, you don’t want to be on the receiving end of it—so she’s a very strong shooter, and she has also a good spatial awareness. She knows where to get set up in the pool and can tell other people whether they need to push down or slide over, so she is able to set the tempo in the water.”
Rossi said, “In the games, whenever we call a timeout or we’re setting up again after a goal has been scored, she’ll usually say a word of encouragement, and makes sure everyone is comfortable being set up with whoever they’re set up with currently, and she calls switches.”
As a Captain, Wilson strives to create a fun practice environment that the team can look forward to each day.
Wilson said, “I want to create a safe space for my teammates, as well as a fun environment to practice in. While every practice can’t be playing games, we have to do some drills and we have to do some swimming, I want to make it so that everyone enjoys coming to practice and looks forward to something at the end of the day rather than something that they’re dreading.”
According to Co-Captain Sveva Rosati ’19 and Hailey Wadell ’21, Wilson is able to connect with all of her teammates and form close bonds with them outside of practice.
Rosati said, “She’s very good connecting with just every type of person, the team has different types of people in it, it’s a mixed bag, so she’s just good at connecting with all the girls even if she didn’t know them before or if she does.”
Wadell said, “I think we all see Mamie as a team mom, and so we feel like we can go to her for anything, whether it be to rant or to get a hug or to scream about it. She’s definitely made it clear that she’s here for us in and out of the pool.”
Wilson hopes this year’s younger team will come together and continue to improve over the course of the season.
Wilson said, “This year’s team is such a young team, the majority of our team is [Lowers] and [Juniors] and a lot of people haven’t played before, so what Sveva and the coaches and I are focusing on is making sure everyone grows together as well as having fun, but also really trying to improve so that by the end of the season we’re a lot better of a team than what we started as. We want to make sure that we develop, especially because next year, everyone will have at least a year of experience under their belt more or less, so this year is a lot about just grinding and improving and becoming the best players that we can be.”