Manuella Andrade made one college visit. She was sold on Florida State.
“I really liked the environment here, it was similar to home, not cold at all,” said Andrade, a native of Brazil who came to Jacksonville to study when she was 16. “I was looking at schools in Florida. I reached out to the coaches, I came here and the moment I came here I was like, ‘This is definitely the school I want to go to.’ So I canceled my other recruiting trips. I was sure that I wanted to come.”
Andrade may be a long way from home but she is certainly at home in Tallahassee. The swimmer, who focuses on the freestyle events, is a four-time ACC honor roll selection and is majoring in exercise science.
She has also been active in FSU’s Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC), first as a member before being elected secretary and now president.
“I’m thankful for SAAC,” Andrade said. “It allowed me to get to meet a lot of athletes from other sports. Just getting to represent them and give back to the community that means so much to me, especially during the first years as a Seminole, they are a good support group.
“I just want to make sure that we are there for the upcoming freshmen and representing more than just athletics.”
Andrade says that she is focused on improving student-athlete mental health, a topic of focus among ACC schools the past few years, as well as organizing events to bring together athletes of all sports on campus.
SAAC also emphasizes community service – Andrade’s women’s swimming team accounted for 1,278 volunteer hours in 2018-19 (FSU athletes surpassed 6,200 hours last year). One of the prominent events SAAC organized was an April trip to Panama City to help with the ongoing cleanup after Hurricane Michael.
Andrade also represents FSU as she travels to various conferences to meet student-athletes from ACC schools.
“Manuella brings passion for service and campus involvement to our Student-Athlete Advisory Council,” said Sarah Petronio, director of student-athlete development and events. “Her current campus roles will help expose more student-athletes to leadership and service opportunities that will further immerse them into Florida State’s campus life and the Tallahassee community. Our mission is to enhance the student-athlete experience and Manuella will be instrumental in making this goal a reality.”
Andrade has found the life of a student-athlete to be busy but she has capably juggled her various responsibilities. Her organizational skills are what made her a top candidate for president and she was elected by her peers to the position for 2019-20.
“Just being an athlete, you get to learn about time management,” Andrade said. “I had to learn how to handle other areas of my life. It definitely has prepared me well. I enjoy doing it. I don’t see it as work.”