Andover Girls Swimming Co-Captain Hailey Wadell ’21 has been around water her whole life, swimming competitively for the past 14 years. While this depth of experience has allowed Wadell to excel as an Andover competitor over the past four years, it is her infectious enthusiasm that has helped her unite the team as a leader and a Co-Captain, according to Co-Captain Abby Ryan ’21.
Ryan said, “[Wadell] is the first person to get in the water every single day. It’s her trademark routine: jump in the pool first, scream, and tell everyone else to get in…We always talk about how you leave your day behind you when you get in the pool. It washes away whatever’s been going on, so you’re just fully present in the moment. And I think that she manifests that every day when she runs into the pool.”
According to Wadell, she aims to take a light-hearted approach to make practices more fun and to improve the team’s energy.
“I bring music to the practices and try to get people smiling and dancing. That’s super important to me, because I think you can get in the pool and you can work hard, but that’s not all it is. It’s how you approach each day, because swimming the laps isn’t going to change anything if you’re not into it, if you’re not enjoying it. You’ve got to get in and focus on the little things in order to improve. And you can’t do that without being positive,” said Wadell.
According to Head Coach Paul Murphy ’84, Wadell’s relaxed demeanor belies her ability to be fierce and serious when the situation demands it.
“I’ve had a lot of experience with Captains over the years, and Hailey is someone who can keep a finger on the pulse of the entire team in a way that very few Captains over the years have been able to do. She reads her team well. She knows what people need. If we need to have a dance party, she’s like, okay, we need to have a dance party. And if we need to take something super seriously, if something is going wrong, she knows how to do that too,” said Murphy.
According to Ryan, Wadell’s ability to understand the needs of her team has proved invaluable as she leads her team through a uniquely difficult season.
Ryan said, “She’s able to really connect with people. This is such a cliche, but you can really feel her energy through any Zoom camera, any FaceTime call. She’s always really present in the moment and really there for everyone.”
Wadell started swimming the 100-meter butterfly, but switched to the 500-meter freestyle when the team needed a distance swimmer. She then pivoted again when the team needed someone to compete as a backstroker, making her one of the team’s most all-around swimmers. According to Wadell, this experience taught her to be more flexible.
Wadell said, “I’ve definitely learned to become more versatile. I’ve become more open to things like just switching to backstroke. I mean, I’d never been a backstroker. But it was just like, ok, this is what the team needs. I’m going to get in. I’m going to do my best and see what happens. And now I like backstroke. I never thought I’d say that, but here I am. [I’m] learning just to go with the flow and take each day as it is.”
Murphy echoed this sentiment, pointing out how Wadell’s confidence in the pool translates into her abilities as a leader.
“Whatever the team needs, Hailey is the one that is going to step in and do it. And that’s been awesome to watch. She’s a fierce competitor in the water, but she’s soft and and solid on deck for her peers… she keeps people balanced. She mentors the younger swimmers in a way that’s so positive, and she will undoubtedly leave a great legacy in her wake,” said Murphy.
Editor’s Note: Hailey Wadell ’21 is a Copy Editor for The Phillipian.
Editor’s Note: Abby Ryan ’21 is a Sports Editor for The Phillipian.