August 5, 2010
All it takes to keep Andrea Ross happy is a swimsuit and a smile. For more than 30 years, she's been teaching kids how to get from one end of the pool to the other, and despite a painful battle with breast cancer, and now Lymphoma, Ross has always kept her head above water.
"As soon as I get in the water, no matter how bad I feel, a switch just turns on at the moment. Kids need me to be there and need me to be on and ready to go," said Ross, a JSL swim coach for the City of Charlottesville.
Ross has never missed a race, including the one that won her Charlottesville team a Division III championship.
"I have felt guilty sitting at the meets in 98 degree heat because Andrea has just gone through treatments. She's sitting there, and if she sees a child, she'll get up and run to the other part of the deck to cheer them on," said Joann Robertson, who has a daughter under Ross' tutelage.
Before working with City children, Ross coached at a country club. However, she knew there was a different calling for her.
"I always looked at the City of Charlottesville and wished I was there. The kids just need so much love, family and community, and it was just a different feeling," she said.
For Andrea, it's not just a passion to be near the pool, it's a way of life.
"It's just in my veins. I'm parched if I'm not in the water. Years from now, or next week, or whatever, I plan on just enjoying life and enjoying the children here in our community," said Ross.
Andrea Ross admits it's becoming less about her, and more about making sure the kids are in the right lane, and you can bet she'll be coaching them along until they hit the wall.