Q: Where are you from and what is it like there?
A: I’m from Orange County, Calif., and it’s really sunny and warm there, even now.
Q: So you’re originally from the Philippines?
A: I was born in the Philippines. I lived there until I was five, and then my parents moved to Orange County, and I’ve been there ever since.
Q: Was that for your parents’ work?
A: Yeah, my parents are missionaries. They came back to California for my brother to go to school.
Q: How did you first get started with water polo?
A: My dad played at UC Davis when he was in college, so my older brothers played before me. I was always interested at their games, and I started playing when I was 12.
Q: What is the best moment in your Princeton career?
A: Probably winning Easterns last year and making it to the NCAAs for the first time. It was really exciting.
Q: Water polo can get pretty aggressive. Any moments when you were particularly aggressive or someone was aggressive on defense?
A: Well, I’ve never gotten punched or punched anyone in the face, but for a period in high school, I got a lot of black eyes. My record was eight black eyes in one year, so I really like them. I got my first bloody nose my sophomore year in college, and I was really excited. I’m pretty sure I made the coach take a picture of me.
Q: What is your role on the team?
A: I’m one of the captains, so I guess being a leader is my most important role on the team: making sure everyone’s motivated and keeping their spirits up.
Q: Do you have any pregame rituals?
A: There’s one that’s really gross that I don’t want to talk about. Mostly playing music in the locker room. No one ever lets me use my iPod because it’s always One Direction, but if I’m lucky I can get Taylor Swift to get played.
Q: Do you have any pump-up songs?
A: The team favorite last year was “The World” by Lil Wayne. But me personally, I stick more to Taylor Swift or Ke$ha.
Q: Most embarrassing song on your iPod?
A: One time my iPod was used for weights, and my shuffle is very unpredictable, so they turned it off after the third song. I have a lot of Disney Channel stars. Probably my most embarrassing song is “This Is Me” by Demi Lovato.
Q: Quirkiest teammate?
A: Oh goodness, that’s a tough question. My team has a lot of them. I do get my love advice from my Netflix account. But besides me, I guess I would say [senior] Saranna Soroka. She loves her personal space, which I try to snuggle my way in every chance I get. But her jam is playing “Long Live” [by Taylor Swift] in the locker room. Her biggest dream is for a guy to say/sing to her, “I’ve had the time of my life fighting dragons with you.” So that’s the way to her heart, guys.
Q: Any good stories about your coach [Luis Nicolao]?
A: He’s from Brazil, so he always says how English isn’t his first language, even though he lived there for maybe two months of his life. So he doesn’t speak in correct English a lot, and we always make fun of him when he messes up. The junior class last year designed our Easterns shirts, so we used all his “Louie-isms” that he says like saying how water polo is comprised of these different things, which did not add up to a hundred percent, which he didn’t really get and we had to explain to him.
Q: If you didn’t play water polo, is there a sport you would play?
A: I did play volleyball when I was in middle school, but when I watch games now, I realize I could never play it because I get too upset when they trash-talk. I would want to hurt someone, but there’s a net in between.
Q: What was your “welcome-to-college” moment?
A: I was over an hour late to my first Writing Seminar because I didn’t realize it was in the pink house next to Forbes. I asked directions from like 10 different people, and they sent me to the Seminary school. I kind of walked around there for a good half hour then realized it was a dorm.
Q: Plans for after you graduate?
A: Not concrete ones, but I’m in contact with a construction management firm in LA that I’m pretty sure I’m going to work for.
Q: Do you have a dream job?
A: Probably to be an Orange County housewife.
Q: How much of Orange County life is the stereotype?
A: It’s kind of similar. I spent most of my high school/middle school playing water polo, so I didn’t really participate in the real OC experience. We did go to the beach a lot.
Q: Best part about being an athlete at Princeton?
A: I really enjoy traveling during the weekends, staying in nice hotels and pretty much just watching TV while not playing games.
Q: Worst part about being an athlete at Princeton?
A: Jumping into the pool every day. DeNunzio is known for being really cold. And smelling like chlorine all the time; it’s not cute.
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