Harker students and alumni had the unique opportunity to see one of their own compete in the summer Olympics in Beijing, as MS alumna Andrea Nott ’96 represented the U.S. in the synchronized swimming event. Nott, whose team finished fifth overall in Beijing, discovered her love for the sport at the age of nine, and has been named a U.S. Synchronized Swimming All-American for seven years — since 1999. She was selected as an alternate for the Athens games in 2004.
Surprisingly, Nott said she didn’t feel much pressure despite making her first Olympic appearance. “We did a lot of mental preparation, including detailed visualizations and simulations,” she said. “So, when we were waiting to go out to perform I actually felt surprisingly calm.” She also said that her main goal was to put on the best performance of her career. “I wanted to peak and amaze people at the Olympics,” said Nott. “I think our team did that.”
Nott is the daughter of Debra Nott, Harker’s director of nursing and, following a decompression period, Andrea resurfaced in October to join her mom, who went to Beijing with her, at the Harker Family Picnic. The swimmer noted one of the most remarkable experiences of the games was watching the opening ceremonies.
“A lot of Olympians had told me beforehand that it was their favorite part of the Olympics, but I couldn’t quite grasp how amazing it would be to see them light the torch until I saw it,” she recalled. But above all, it was the opportunity to participate in the games that made the biggest impression. “I had been looking forward to the Olympics for so long that I really didn’t want to realize after closing ceremonies that I had let it all go by too fast,” said Nott. “I knew beforehand that I would be retiring from synchronized swimming after the games, so when I watched the torch light in opening ceremonies, I knew it would be a once-in-a-lifetime occasion.”
For those aspiring to reach the stars, Nott says the key ingredient is determination. “Natural talent is a great gift, but it can only take you so far,” she says. “Hard work and tenacity are what will get you there in the end, and the reward will feel even greater.”