Senior Brett Lullo, of the men's swimming and diving team, competes in the butterfly, freestyle and individual medley events. At last season's Ivy League championship, Lullo placed seventh in two events (the 200-yard butterfly and freestyle) and reached the consolation finals of another (the 200-yard individual medley). When he's not in the pool or hitting the books, Lullo is hard at work as the social chair of Tiger Inn.
Q: What was your “welcome to college” moment?
A: The first time I locked myself out of my room freshman year after taking a shower. I was in just my boxers and had to go wait in the four girls’ room next to me for Public Safety to come and let me back in. I have [been locked out] many times since then. My neighbors aren’t too happy about it.
Q: What is the greatest highlight of your sports career?
A: Winning the Illinois high school state final in my two events my senior year will always be such an amazing experience for me individually, but nothing can beat the high of winning a meet and getting to celebrate with your team. Jumping in the pool at Denunzio after winning the Ivy League championship meet last year will always stick with me, and I'm really glad I got to share [that moment] with all my teammates.
Q: Who is your quirkiest teammate, and why?
A: One of our sophomores, Kaspar Raigla, is from Estonia and was in the military for two years before coming to Princeton. He brought with him a lot of strange Estonian training techniques and is always off in his own world during practice, but it definitely pays off for him and he swims really fast. He dresses very European, and one time I asked him if he could give me some tips on how to dress more trendily. He looked at me seriously and said, “I don’t know if you can pull off skinny jeans.”
Q: What is the best part about being an athlete on campus?
A: Definitely the athletes' dining hall and all the extra tutoring we get. Plus, girls love athletes — especially swimmers. Girls are always asking to wear my jersey.
Q: What is the worst part about being an athlete on campus?
A: I feel like there are a bunch of cool things that go on campus between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. I feel like the President, the Pope, and Brad Pitt have all been here like three times each since I’ve gotten here, but I’ve had to miss them every time because of practice.
Q: What is your least favorite thing about swimming?
A: Jumping in the water at 6:30 a.m. in the middle of December is never an easy thing. I could stand on the edge of the pool before jumping in without getting bored for like three hours, just holding onto the satisfaction that I'm not actually in the water yet.
Q: If you were your coach for a day, what would you do?
A: People on our team don’t like getting in the water right on time because the pool is so cold; to battle this, our coach has a collection of water guns in his office that he pulls out and sprays people with when people refuse to get in. I would definitely take full advantage of this, spraying people as they came in from outside and were stretching and warming up.
Q: Does the team have any odd rituals?
A: It is a pretty normal thing for swimmers, but most people just cant understand it: we have to shave our entire bodies before our last swim meet of the year. Swimmers literally only do this twice a year, at most, but everyone always comes to me asking if I just shaved. (This is mostly because I'm a hairless phenom of a man-boy.) I swear it actually has an effect in the water and we don’t just do it to do it.
Q: What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not practicing?
A: I am a TV and movie fiend: when I have nothing else I need to do, I am always catching up on my favorite TV shows (The Office, How I Met Your Mother, 30 Rock, The Big Bang Theory, Modern Family) or watching new movies and old classics (Heavyweights, Tommy Boy). I and a few of the guys on the team are suckers for romantic comedies. I maintain that nothing beats "You’ve Got Mail."
Q: What music inspires you?
A: Personally, I listen to a weird assortment of music: Steel Train, The Avett Brothers, fun., movie soundtracks and other things, but as a team, we get pumped up by some pretty strange music. There is a song called “Barbara Streisand” by Duck Sauce that we have been blasting all season in the locker room and during meets. They started playing it when we were up at Cornell during warm-ups, and everyone stopped in the middle of warm-ups to hear the rest of it.
Q: What is the best part about playing a sport that has both an individual and group aspect?
A: It goes both ways for me: if our team doesn’t do as well as we had hoped, I can still find happiness in knowing I got a best time. Even more so though, if I didn’t do as well as I had hoped individually, it's great to celebrate with the team after winning a meet. You easily forget your personal problems when everyone around you is on such a high.
Q: Would you be a good candidate for the reality TV show that is set to film at Princeton? Why or why not?
A: People really seem to like Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino from the "Jersey Shore," and I feel like he and I have a lot in common. I think I would have to decline an offer, though, because my mom always told me when I was growing up to never to be on [MTV's] "The Real World." If only my mom knew how lame I actually was.
Q: If you weren't a swimmer, what would be your sport?
A: I always fancied myself a beach volleyball superstar, but I don’t think I’m tall enough to go pro. And despite my solid time in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine last year, I think I would forgo the NFL and opt to be a bullpen catcher in the MLB.