After swimming on a club team throughout middle school, Andover Girls Swimming Co-Captain Jackie Rossi ’20 found the transition to Andover to be very transformative for her as both a swimmer and teammate. According to Rossi, Andover is more team-oriented than other places, as it prioritizes team performance and attitude over individual success.
Rossi said, “Swimming at Andover is very different from my club team at home, because my club team was very individual-results focused, where at Andover it’s really about winning as a team. Everyone has to contribute their own skills to contribute to the team goal, and we’re not ranking swimmers individually. That joint goal makes the team bond a lot stronger, just because everyone that comes from club teams needs to change their mentality.”
According to Rossi, she contributes to this strong team bond through her mental strength and motivation to the team to work hard.
Rossi said, “At Andover, swimming hasn’t been as serious for me as it used to be, because now I’m only training one season a year rather than year round, so I’ve definitely lost some of the speed that I had in middle school. As [Co-Captain], I don’t necessarily bring a lot of speed, but I bring a lot of mental strength.”
According to fellow Co-Captain Grace Hitchcock ’20, Rossi influences others through her positivity and encouraging presence.
“I think part of her amazing heart is her ability to really inspire people to push themselves in practice… She really makes every single person on the team feel incredibly welcome and like they are equally as much part of the team as the next person. That’s something that takes place both in and out of the pool,” said Hitchcock.
Rossi encourages and supports the team during both practices and meets, according to teammate Alexa DiCenso ’21.
“During practice, in between sets and repeats, she’s always motivating us, like telling us, ‘Good job, girls,’ and ‘Keep going, it’s our last one,’ things like that. At the end of our set, she gives us high-fives, [and] she’s just very bright. At meets, she’s always cheering. Whenever she’s not doing a race, she’s always at the end of someone’s lane, cheering them on,” said DiCenso.
Out of the pool, Rossi is more than just a teammate, and she serves as a friend and mentor for many on the team, according to DiCenso.
DiCenso said, “I’ve been on the team with her for three years, and she’s someone that I feel like I can talk to if I’m ever having a problem or [need] to vent to someone, while at the same time she’s serious and serene in a way. She’s really great at making you cheer up and things like that.”
Although swimming is a big team sport, it also has its individual aspects. For Rossi, she enjoys the mental challenge and constantly works to improve her skills.
“It’s a very individual sport; it’s really just you and yourself during practice. You have the support of your teammates around you, but you’re really just pushing yourself through each set with the goal of improving your technique, your stroke rate, how far you’re moving with each stroke—those are things that only you can push yourself to do. No coach can push you to improve that,” said Rossi.
As the season nears its end with only two meets left, Rossi hopes to lead the team to a New Englands Championship win after coming in second two years in a row.
Rossi said, “Our goal this season is to win New Englands. It’s a very ambitious goal, but we’ve been runner-up for two years now, behind Greenwich Academy. They’re a really strong team, but we got a bunch of strong recruits this year, so if anything, the goal is to keep closing the gap towards first place. If we don’t get first place, [second will] be at least a very good result.”