In her second year on Andover Girls Water Polo, Jackie Rossi ’20 is both inspiring and essential of the team, according to teammate Hailey Wadell ’21.
Wadell said, “Her positivity is awesome. Jackie is definitely there for the team. She wants to be there at practice everyday, which I think is super big in the way that it influences other people and the overall atmosphere of the team.”
Rossi’s diverse skill set in the pool paired with her positive influence on her teammates has earned her the accolade of The Phillipian’s Athlete of the Week.
How did you get into water polo?
I started playing while I was at Andover. I’ve been a swimmer my whole life, so during my Lower year the girls on [Andover Girls Swimming & Diving] convinced me to join the water polo team. I started my Lower year because my [Junior] year I was doing track, and then I got injured while doing track so I didn’t want to do it again. Then I was looking for a Spring term sport and all the girls told me water polo was so fun, and ‘you can improve your swimming skills.’ It’s nice to be in the water off-season so that next season you can be more prepared. I knew that it was a good group of girls so I decided to join.
What’s your favorite thing about being on the water polo team?
Most of the girls on the water polo team are new to the sport or only have a few years of experience. A lot of girls pick up water polo while being at Andover so I think it’s really fun because people are very open-minded in the water and [in] picking up this new sport. Everybody pushes each other to get better. For me it took a while to get the groove of water polo. The first year that I played I felt like I didn’t really get the grasp of the sport, but coming back as a returner to the team, having played one season, I feel a lot more prepared in the water and I feel like that is something many of the new players are going to undergo. That will be very exciting this season. As a swimmer, water polo is like swimming with a fun twist on it – swimming with the ball added. It’s more of a team sport and I love playing for the team.
Who are your role models on the team?
Last year when I joined, the two captains on the team were really awesome. One of them was Emma Chatson [’18], the goalie, and I was in a few other extracurriculars with her and I did swimming with her. So going into it, she was one of the people I knew. She was so encouraging and kept our spirits really high. The other captain was Eastlyn Frankel [’18], and she was a really good player, so I think in that sense she was a role model. She taught me that being a good player is useful in water polo, but it’s not the only thing that matters. You really need to be good at working as a team and knowing how to handle the ball. There are a lot of factors that go into it.
What’s your favorite pregame psych up?
Last year we kind of invented this psych, which is called the no-pants psych. It’s basically where you wear a really long T-shirt over shorts, and the objective last year was whoever got asked the most times “Are you wearing pants?” would win a prize. It’s a really funny day because a lot of people are suspicious.
What are your goals for yourself this season?
My main goal is to build that resistance that the captains this year and last year have. I think by the fourth quarter of the game, I start getting really tired out, so my main goal is to push through that fourth quarter and not give up.
What are your goals for the team this season?
I’m so impressed by how fast [the] new [players] are learning water polo. It’s a really young team, so I’d say our main goal is to get more experience so that next season we are really prepared. So far I think we have been doing a really good job, and it’s been really fun.