St. Charles North junior Angelina Messina wasn’t as successful as she wanted to be last season.
“I really share the blame on that,” St. Charles North swim coach Rob Rooney said.
As a sophomore in 2019, Messina took fourth in the 200-yard individual medley and was part of the 200 medley relay that took second at sectionals.
“I think that, yes, she was prepared to be successful in practice and throughout the course of the season,” Rooney said. “But, I shared the blame to her that she’s better than what she [had] done. This year, that was kind of my whole thing: To make sure there was a lot of confidence between her and I as a coach-student athlete relationship.”
What helped Messina, too, was the lasting belief there would be another meet despite the challenges surrounding COVID-19. Also helping her was the support system from her teammates, parents and coaches that helped Messina settle into a mental groove.
“One of the biggest things that coach Rooney has helped me with is understanding when to be constructive but also when to celebrate something that you did well, even if it wasn’t 100% what you wanted," Messina said. "There was always something good that came out of it.”
Throughout his coaching career, Rooney has seen both sides of the coin. He's had athletes that did trust him and others who weren’t so sure.
“...We’re here together to be successful. It’s really about you being successful, not about me being successful.," Rooney said. "I’ve just seen her embrace, once I kind of said it was my fault, our trust factor really grew between the two of us."
That ultimately led to Messina starring at the sectional meet, which was the last meet of the season with the state meet canceled due to COVID-19.
Messina won the 200 IM (2:02.59) and the 100 breaststroke (1:03.85) and was second in the 100 free (52.02) to lead the North Stars to the team sectional title.
“The biggest thing for me is believing in myself and trusting myself that I could do all of these things. So many people were telling me I could and I just needed to buy into it, even for a second,” Messina said. “Once I did...it helped me realize I could do it. And, then I did do it. so, that was really, really big for me.”
The catalyst was the North Stars first dual meet of the season.
“That’s when I realized I was wanted on this team and that I could really make an impact,” Messina said. “I needed to step up and pull my weight like I thought I could and my teammates thought I could.”
“She does not like to get beat. She takes it very personal and that’s both in practice and in meets,” Rooney said. “She wants to win. And, that’s a trait...says a lot about her. More importantly is the fact she really, truly works to make sure she can have success.”
Kane County Chronicle All-Area Team
Paige Armstrong, St. Charles North, jr.; Payton Baxter, St. Charles North, sr. Elyssa Brault, Rosary, sr.; Jessica Geriane, Rosary, sr.; Sara Jass, Rosary, jr.; Katie Kempff, St. Charles East, jr.; Angelina Messina, St. Charles North, jr.; Izzy Pytel, Rosary, sr.; Madison Supple, St. Charles East, sr.; Lauren Swartz, St. Charles East, sr.; Molly Yetter, St. Charles East, sr.