Hitchcock said, “I think the biggest part of [being on the team for four years] has been having several other amazing captains to look up to and see what they’ve done to make our team faster and better each year and sort of building off of the trajectory that they’ve laid down… I think that that has sort of opened the door for me and my Co-Captain, Jackie [Rossi ’20], to step up and make some changes to the team this year that we really think will allow the girls to have a better time during the season and also to perform better as a team.”
Mary Kate Turk ’22 and Rossi admire Hitchcock’s commitment to the team and believe that it has been crucial this season.
Rossi said, “Grace is a planner, which is a great thing because she’s super organized in the way she leads the team. She has this term called ‘garbage yardage,’ and what it means is swimming just to swim yards and not really doing anything with that distance. I think that her strength as a captain is that she really tries to eliminate that ‘garbage yardage’ and make every minute in the pool as efficient as possible.”
Turk added, “She has really stood out, because you can tell that she cares about the sport and the team. She also knows a lot about the sport and that is reflected back on the rest of the team. This year, before big meets, we do ice baths. Earlier in the season, she brought in a [former] Olympian to help us with our technique. So, there are a lot of little things that show that she really cares.”
Hitchcock strives to maintain a sense of closeness among the swimmers and believes the team’s camaraderie plays a large role in its success.
Hitchcock said, “Supporting each other is always my number one priority. I think what makes our team so special is the fact that we will always be at the end of the lane cheering for each other when we’re not swimming. It honestly makes your job as an individual swimmer on the team so much easier, because you know that you’re not just standing up on the blocks competing to get a best time for yourself; you are really up there to score points for the team,” said Hitchcock.
According to both Turk and Head Coach Paul Murphy ’84, Hitchcock’s love for the team and for swimming make her an exceptional captain.
Murphy said, “Grace reads people really well [and] tends to be a little bit more of an assistant coach. She really has helped give feedback to us, especially in the late part of the season about resting or how much we should be doing or pushing. It is an important role that I don’t necessarily hear from everyone.”
Turk said, “I think she definitely is someone who her teammates look up to because she’s a really good leader… She’s done a really good job of bringing the team together and making us all care more about the sport.”
After being on the team for four years, Hitchcock is grateful for her experiences with what she considers a tightly-knit group.
Hitchcock said, “This team truly is at the very pinnacle of the definition of a team. In practice, we push each other on sets so we can all be faster when it comes time to compete. We sit down and talk to each other about what our individual goals are, and how those goals will all fall into place so we can achieve the team goals. We all have that extra energy that we want to put towards swimming so that we, as a team, can be the best that we can be. So for me, those aspects of our team have really invigorated my love for the sport, and I don’t think that I could have found that anywhere else besides here.”