Coach Feature Girls Water Polo Sports

Coach Feature: Jill Meyer ’08 Comes Full Circle

Head Coach Jill Meyer ’08 began playing Water Polo as a Junior at Andover before rejoining the team as an Assistant Coach in 2013.

Having found a passion for water polo thirteen years ago on the Andover campus, Girls Water Polo Jill Meyer ’08 has since returned to the pool to serve her first season as Head Coach of Andover Girls Water Polo.

Similarly to many girls currently on the team, Meyer was introduced to the sport in her Junior year after previously being involved in swim.

“My revisit day host played and encouraged me to try out. I had grown up swimming and was eager to test out a new water sport. In the spring of my ninth grade year I gave it a shot and wound up really enjoying it,” wrote Meyer in an email to The Phillipian.

Meyer came back to Andover in 2013 as a Teaching Fellow and worked as an assistant coach, which allowed her to experience the sport both inside and outside the pool.

“I put down a few sports I was comfortable coaching on my application and wound up with both the boys and girls water polo teams from that point on. This is my tenth season with the water polo program,” wrote Meyer.

After spending six seasons coaching the girls’ program, Meyer has learned to appreciate the diversity of the players on the team and to take advantage of their varying levels of experience.

“Water polo is a unique varsity program, in that many of our players come in without ever having played before. It’s important to remember the wide range of skill and experience on the team and use that strategically to bring newer players up to speed and continue to challenge and develop returners,” wrote Meyer.

According to Co-Captain Sveva Rosati ’19, Meyer prioritizes team bonding to connect new and veteran players alike.

“She’s really supportive, and I think she’s really good at connecting with girls at every level of play,” said Rosati.

Hailey Wadell ’21 said, “I think she brings a different way of looking at water polo just because she is a new head coach. She’s really enthusiastic about the sport. She played for Andover, which I think is a bonus because she knows what we’re going through and is able to maintain a positive team atmosphere.”

According to Meyer, the connection between the players and coaches on the team is ultimately why she chose to coach and why she continues to enjoy being in the program.

“I’m grateful to get to work with such wonderful students and adults,” wrote Meyer. “The players are fun, hardworking and so supportive of one another. We have players who had been playing since they were kids, and some who started a month ago. Regardless, you’ll find them passing with one another during warm ups and helping each other out during drills.”

This year, as the team deals with injuries and tough losses, Meyer has been a steady presence for the team, according to Wadell.

“Already, we’ve had injuries, sickness, and we’ve had people in and out, so I think she just wants us to be aware that we’re a team through it all and there are other things outside of water polo that we can help each other with,” said Wadell.

“She always urges us to be really be calm and collected even when the game is frustrating or we’re playing aggressive teams,” added Rosati.

Despite early season struggles, Meyer feels optimistic about the future of the team.

“This year’s squad is an energetic and devoted group,” wrote Meyer. “We are fresh off of our first win and things seem to be clicking with our offense as the players get used to working with their teammates’ different strengths. I’m hoping this is the first of a series of wins that could qualify us for New England’s, but I’m just happy to be a part of this year’s team.”