Jill Pusateri: O Captain! My Captain!

Jillian Pusateri is a senior political science major from Franklin Square, New York. At Sacred Heart University, she is best known for being captain of the Swim and Dive Team.

When asked why Pusateri was chosen as team captain, John Spadafina, Head Swimming Coach said, “she exemplifies the team core values and shows leadership characteristics.”

Pusateri, 21, has swam for the past 17 years. “I don’t remember life before swimming to be honest. Well, my parents threw me into swim lessons. Then I did a summer team and I fell in love with it.”

For a brief time during her career Pusateri was not the only one of the same last name swimming with a SHU cap on. Her older sister, Julia, was on the team in her senior year when Jillian started her freshman year.

“I’ve always looked up to her. It was kind of cool to have my big sister be a big dog on the team when I first came in,” said Pusateri.

In Spadafina’s tenure with the swim team, he has seen four sets of sisters complete the program.

“Jill and Julia are total opposites, but we endorse the family atmosphere and the siblings that come through the program. The Pusateri’s, in my tenure, are the second set of sisters to come through,” said Spadafina.

During the meet season, August to February, the swim and dive team practices from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Monday through Saturday. They then have a one-hour team lift session twice a week. Their home base is located at the McCann Natatorium in Milford, Conn.

In the off season, the team gets a day off with practices running from Monday to Friday. In lieu of a practice, the team has three one-hour team lift sessions.

“Swim has become a part of my life,” said Pusateri. “It has taught me so much, time management, patience, and motivation. Aside from the lessons, it has given me lifelong friends.”

Pusateri’s events for meets are the 100 breaststroke, 500 freestyle stroke, and the mile. Her favorite event is the breaststroke.

She has been supported in her career by loved ones. “My parents are my driving force. They have never missed a meet,” Pusateri said.

Michael and Diana Pusateri were recognized at this year’s senior day festivities. “We all are a family,” said Spadafina.

Other SHU athletic team captains recognize the work that she put into everything. “I would describe Jill as diligent,” said Alexa Setteducati captain of the SHU equestrian team and Pusateri’s housemate.

“She puts 110% into everything she does whether it’s her academics, swimming, or friendships. She is so hardworking and keeps herself busy by not only being a full-time student athlete as a Captain, but she also tutors in the Pitt [Center] and works,” Setteducati said.

Pusateri is off to Hofstra Law School when she graduates this year from SHU. For her this is a bitter-sweet ending, but she already has retirement plans.

Pusateri said, “My retirement will be spent competing in triathlons. Triathlons plus law school… that should keep me busy.”

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