Junior goalkeeper and co-captain Vojislav Mitrovic and the Princeton water polo team (11-6 overall) are on a roll this season. Despite losing a few close early games, the Tigers are determined to defend their CWPA Eastern Conference Championship. Former conference defensive player of the week, Mitrovic sat down with the ‘Prince’ to discuss water polo, traveling, and his future outlook.
The Daily Princetonian: How is this season going?
Vojislav Mitrovic: Currently the season is going well. Usually, the Princeton water polo team is known for progressing through the season and peaking at the CWPA Eastern Championships; our goal is to make the NCAA tournament at the end of the year.
VM: At the same time, we are still in a process of synchronizing our plays and playing more like a team. Our strength right now is that we always have someone standing out when the team needs it.
DP: How do you view your leadership role on the team?
VM: For me, it’s a balance between knowing when to lead and letting my teammates be leaders in the moment themselves.
DP: Can you describe the team mentality this season?
VM: We see each other as brothers, and at the end of the day, it comes down to playing as a family. We know that no team in the program has won back-to-back championships. To do that, we have to play for one another, not just ourselves.
DP: Did you watch the Olympics?
VM: Because I’m Serbian, I really enjoyed watching my home country play tennis, basketball, and water polo. In particular, with water polo, it was really nice to see them get together and improve throughout the course of the Olympic Games.
DP: What are major aspects of your identity beyond water polo?
VM: I am currently an ARCA in [Rockefeller College] and executive director of the yearbook. Combined with junior year independent work, I’ve got a full plate.
DP: What pushes you to maintain such a busy schedule?
VM: The bottom line is that I’ve had a really hectic schedule since I was 15 – practicing eight hours each day for my club and national team. Currently, I am involved in so many things because I want to give back to Princeton after all that the school has given to me. This semester, I’m going all in.
DP: In the past two years, how has your transition to the United States been?
VM: When I arrived on campus two years ago, I knew that I would be the only Serbian on campus. So, I personally clicked with [senior co-captain] Jovan Jeromic because he has a mindset that aligns with mine. When I came to campus, I didn’t expect anything and just dealt with issues as they came.
DP: How have you stayed in touch with your family?
VM: Every time I go back to Serbia, I try to spend as much time with them as possible. In particular, I want to be there for my younger brother who plays on the Serbian national team. In fact, one of my favorite memories in life is playing with my brother on the senior club team back in Serbia.
DP: What are some of your passions outside of the pool?
VM: I really love traveling. I have a lot of favorite places. I would love to live in California, because it’s always sunny there. To have fun, I really love Milan in Italy – the city of fashion. The city that I really enjoy as a tourist is Paris, because everyone is really warm.
DP: We did an On Tap with you almost exactly two years ago. If you could go back in time, what would you tell your freshman year self?
VM: I would tell him to relax more and not to search for answers that will naturally reveal themselves in the future. For example, when I came here freshman year, dropped into a new world, I was pursuing lots of answers, such as how the education system works. I had so many questions on my mind. You also have to remember that my first class taught in English was on the Princeton campus.
DP: How do you manage to stay so happy while being so busy?
VM: When I wake up in the morning, I tell myself that there is nothing I can do to change what happened yesterday. I also believe that you only have one chance to live and you should pursue any opportunity that appears before you. What keeps me going is a certain hunger to prove myself.