If you’re looking for Isabella Fratesi, chances are, you’ll find her in the pool.
Isabella has been swimming year-round since she was 6 years old. In fact, she remembers the day she decided to become a full-time swimmer:
“I remember the exact conversation with my mom. We were on my way home from a summer-league practice and my mom said, ‘Isabella, do you want to do this all the time?’ and I just screamed, ‘Yes!’ Since that day, I have been involved in club swimming. I have always loved the water and I can’t imagine my life without the sport,” Isabella said.
Isabella also participated in track and dance when she was younger, but soon made the decision to focus exclusively on swimming. She has been on Arcadia’s varsity swim team since 2016. She practices nine times a week – 20 hours in total.
She was also part of Arcadia’s National Honors Society and participated in Ambassador’s Club, Key Club, Earth Club and Arcadia Yearbook. She also writes for SwimSwam.com, a swimming news website.
Isabella has an extensive list of accomplishments despite her demanding work and school schedules, including: AIA Scholar-Athlete Award three years in a row, USA Swimming Scholastic All-American (2017, 2018), four Notre Dame Prep records, Rookie of the Year award and more than one State Championship for Arcadia High School.
“Isabella brings more to our team than fast times. She is a strong leader and dedicated worker who many of our younger swimmers look up to. Her ability to balance academics and athletics at such high levels is a great example for our athletes,” said swim coach Garrett McCaffrey.
After graduation, Isabella will take her talents to Columbia University in New York City to pursue a degree in journalism.
“For as long as I could remember, I knew I wanted to be a writer. I was a big reader in my youth, and my parents taught me how to read and write when I was only 3 years old. I have known for my whole life that I wanted to continue working with words for as long as I could,” Isabella said.
“Because of her dedication to excellence (especially toward writing), Isabella often delivered extraordinary essays,” said Denise Treadway, Isabella’s middle school teacher. “It was always a pleasure to read her work and I saved a good many of her assignments to use as examples to other students.”
Isabella says she is most excited to start honing her skills as a writer while continuing to pursue her passion as a swimmer.
“The opportunities in NYC are limitless, and I feel as though there is no better place in the world for me to pursue a successful career in journalism,” Isabella said. “The women’s swim and dive team at Columbia is an amazing chance for me to continue my athletic career, while also making lifelong relationships with some of the most inspirational women in the nation.”
Isabella wants to focus on investigative journalism.
“I value honest and well-researched media. I feel like I have a personal responsibility to the public to report factual information in a way that is still engaging and exciting to read,” Isabella said.
Even with all of her dedication and appetite for swimming, Isabella is always drawn back to writing.
“Putting a pen to paper is as necessary to me as breathing. I have so many stories and ideas in my head that I have to write them down before I forget them,” Isabella said. “It would also be a dream come true to tap into my creative side and publish a novel or write a screenplay.”