Vinny Lijoi is a senior business management major and a distance freestyle swimmer on the NSU Men’s swimming team. Lijoi is originally from Bradenton, FL and previously spent three seasons swimming at Thomas University before transferring to NSU in his junior season. Two weeks ago, Lijoi was honored as the Sunshine State Conference Swimmer of the Week.
What got you involved in swimming?
“[The 2008 Olympics] inspired me. It gave me unrealistic ideals of getting into the pool and being so wonderful, so when I eventually did get in the pool and got smacked, [reality set in]. I got into swimming when I was 12, and my first competition was when I was 13; I got smoked, but I’ve built up from then and got a lot better.”
Who or what inspires you to get in the pool?
“I guess I inspire myself sometimes. Just watching my friends get really good and seeing them get better inspires me to also get better and push myself. I think that’s what carried me to where I am today, and I feel that it’s carried me pretty far.”
What is your favorite thing about being a swimmer?
“The people that are around me. It’s good to have friends when you first step on campus that are always around you all the time. I think that is a big benefit; that and when you get to a point that you can beat people [in competitions] is fun too. I tell a lot of people ‘you can do it for fun but it’s more fun to win.’”
If you can travel back to freshman year, what advice would you give yourself?
“When I was 18, I was immature. I was red-shirted too, so I learned [that season] that it’s not fun to watch. I can’t say [to myself] you should have done better in this class or that class, but I can say just keep your head up.”
What are some of your other hobbies and passions?
“Video games are fun, listening to music and watching YouTube and Netflix series are fun. Cooking is another thing I like to do. Just different things you can do in different places. Recently I’ve been playing ‘Red Dead Redemption 2’ and ‘Marvel’s Spider-Man;’ both of those games I finished. One game I’m looking forward to is ‘The Last of Us Part II,’ it’s going to be a great game. On Netflix, David Chang just released this new show called ‘Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner,’ where he has those three meals with a celebrity. ‘The Chef’s Show,’ ‘Big Mouth’ and a lot of comedy shows are all great too.”
Is there anything about swimming that you’ve learned that you carry with you in your daily life?
“I’m not dissing college in general, but college helps me deal with [issues] better. I think swimming teaches failure. Something that school doesn’t teach very well is that failure isn’t the end of the world. In swimming, there are times where you just screw up and sometimes people give up from that mistake, which isn’t healthy. Swimming teaches you to push through stuff, knock stuff down and believe in yourself a little more.”
What are your plans after graduation?
“Get a job, get an apartment and get a life. In that order. I want to get a job somewhere in business management, sales, or marketing; something in that field, but I’m still thinking about it.”