Spartan Spotlight: Sara Tillie


Sara Tillie is a junior on the women’s swimming and diving team. Tillie is from Fallston, Md. and is majoring in medical anthropology and Asian studies.


Ben Yavitt: It is good to hear from you, Sara. How long have you been a swimmer?

Sara Tillie: 15 years.

BY: Impressive. I know I would have drowned at that age. What inspired you to start?

ST: My mother signed me up for swim team at age five so I could rid myself of floaties.

BY: She knows what’s best for you. Do you have any other hobbies?

ST: Catching legendary Pokémon and petting squirrels.

BY: Those rank in my top five hobbies for sure. Let’s switch gears though. Who is your favorite athlete?

ST: Chris Butler. Best water polo player ever.

BY: If he were as good at water polo as he is at calculus, I would believe it. Do you have any athletics honors?

ST: All UAA in the 200 and 400 Medley Relays.

BY: Hang those up on the wall. What about academic honors?

ST: CSCAA Academic All-American Honorable Mention and All-UAA Academic.

BY: The longer the acronym, the more prestigious the award. Very nice. What is you best swimming memory?

ST: Bringing tears of joy to Coach Emily Wylam’s eyes after our 400 Medley relay

got third at UAA’s last February.

BY: I assumed those tears were from all the chlorine. Lets hear your favorite quote.

ST: LOFO MOFO, LOFO (means last one fast one by the way…).

BY: I don’t care what it means as long as it isn’t YOLO. Where do you see yourself in the next 10 years?

ST: Studying any indigenous populations that may be left in the world.

BY: That’s kind of sad. Good luck with that one. Tell us, what makes swimming stand out from other sports?

ST: You don’t really have to shower after practice cause you’re already clean. You also get to spend a lot of time with your teammates. I mean, a lot of time.

BY: Yeah I never thought of your practice as a three hour-long shower… If they made a movie about your life, who would you want to play you?

ST: Kathryn Madalena, We look identical and she has had the past 2.5 years to study

my life.

BY: Sounds like a blockbuster hit. What I really want to know now is, what is your least favorite part about swimming?

ST: Having unquenchably dry skin.

BY: Switch out the pool water with skin lotion. That might help in the long run. If you could participate in any other sport, which would you pick and why?

ST: Equestrian so I could have an unconditional best animal friend that did cool tricks.

BY: You might like ostrich racing also. They can do cooler tricks. Tell us, what might we find in your locker right now that might surprise us?

ST: Hair regrowth shampoo… The chlorine really takes a toll on my eyebrows.

BY: Just the eyebrows? I would be concerned about other areas as well (For me it would be my manly moustache I am growing out for November). What is the one thing that most people don’t know about swimming?

ST: Not every swimmer looks as good as Ryan Lochte in a speedo.

BY: Really? Why do people watch swimming then? What goes through your mind during a match?

ST: Cats.

BY: That’s funny, because I am always thinking about cats (even as we do this interview, my cat is attacking my feet). What is the high point of the season?

ST: Taper Time, definitely. I’m fairly certain everyone has superhuman strength for the 3 weeks before championships.

BY: Who is the best athlete you have ever competed against and why?

ST: I once touched Michael Phelps’ butt in the warm-up pool. Does that count?

BY: Why yes. It does in fact count. Any insights on how the season is going so far?

ST: We are definitely off to a good start and already accomplishing some of our goals. For the women’s team, there is nowhere to go but up and I definitely believe we are capable of that.

BY: Wow, that’s great to hear. Thanks a lot Sara, and good luck with the rest of the season!