How I Got Here: Brenna Strollo ’17

The 2012–13 NJAC Rookie of the Year in women’s swimming talks carb loading, the joys of apple picking, and living an “amaXing” life.

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[Photo by Matt Furman]
> I played almost every sport there was in middle school—basketball, soccer, tennis, track—but they weren’t for me. Swimming was always my favorite, so when I started exploring colleges, I was looking for a school with a great nursing program and a competitive swim team. TCNJ has both.

 

> My favorite events are the 100-yard backstroke, the 100-yard butterfly, and the 200-yard individual medley and medley relay. I have really strong underwater streamlines, and I’ve always been a backstroker, which is why I love the 200 IM. I get to swim a little bit of everything.

 

> I start preparing for races with what I eat the night before: It’s always spaghetti for dinner—and whenever possible, my family’s homemade pasta sauce. The mental preparation kicks in when I’m on the starting block. Regardless of the event, I’m reminding myself that it’s just another race, and that I can do well for myself and—more important—my team.

 

> Swimming has opened my eyes to a lot of things. When I was younger, my swim team hosted meets to raise money for Make Some Noise: Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation, and we worked with children out of the pool at the hospital. That was when I first considered becoming a nurse.

 

> It’s a challenge juggling practice with my all-day clinical assignments, but it keeps me organized and motivated. And it’s all worth it when I get to work in local hospitals. I’ve learned so much from the nurses there; they’ve gone through many of the same experiences I’m going through now.

 

> I’m a founding member of Alpha Xi Delta, a new sorority on campus. One of the charities we support is Autism Speaks. Last fall, my 105 “amaXing” sisters and I hosted a Xiti with the Xis event to raise money for families with children with autism. It’s been rewarding working with the organization.

 

> Between swimming and schoolwork, I don’t have much free time, but when I do, I like to have movie nights, hang out in Princeton, or go apple picking with my teammates. It’s simple things like that that remind me I made the right choice when I came to TCNJ.

—as told to Brandon Gould

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