Get to know Rex Tullius

by Josh Huger (MrUtopia)

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Created August 28th, 2011 06:09:29 PM

Modified August 28th, 2011 06:09:29 PM

Rex Tullius is this week’s featured swimmer. Rex, who is currently in Graduate School at the University of Florida, has enjoyed many successes throughout his competitive career.

These successes have come in the form of multiple All-America honors, a 2009 SEC title in the 200 backstroke with a time that ranked as the fourth-fastest all-time mark in swimming history, a national title in the 200 freestyle and many other accomplishments.

In this SwimUtopia interview Rex tells us about the hardest practice he’s ever done and what he considers to be his biggest accomplishment in swimming.

Let’s get started!

You graduated from the University of Florida a few years ago. What was it that drew you to the school and has kept you there?

There are three things that drew me to University of Florida; The academics are some of the best in the state and for what I wanted to study they are some of the best in the Nation.  With my hometown being Daytona Beach, Fl I would be close to home. Lastly I knew that Florida had a reputation for some very good/hard stroke training and I liked that.

You placed 2nd in the 200 backstroke at this year's ConocoPhillips National Championships. What did that do to your confidence going into the World University Games?

Having a second place finish really helped to boost my confidence.  I had been setting up for WUG’s being my big meet of the summer however I wasn’t happy with a second place finish at Nationals.  It was such a close race and I felt if I swam it a little differently the outcome could have been different.

What were some of your goals for WUGs?

Some of my goals for WUG’s were to win the 200 Backstroke, place in the 100 backstroke, and have fun with my first 50 back internationally.  

What does this upcoming year and the lead up to 2012 mean to you? What’s the game plan?

This upcoming year is pretty important to me and I am doing things a little bit unconventionally. After six years at University of Florida I felt like it was time to move on from the program so this past summer I pulled the plug and trained my self for a little while.  Then I went home to Daytona Beach and trained with someone who in my opinion is one of the best technique coaches in the World and that is Steve Lochte. He helped set me up and get me back on track for WUG’s and Nationals. As far as the unconventionality of it all I will be getting guidance and practices from my coach this Fall but I will be completing them up here in Gainesville on my own. I will be lifting weights with some friends who I think can push me. I will, in a way, be my own coach, and for that I am excited. It is the happiest I have been with swimming in a long time.

What are you doing for training now?

I will be training at 1 of the 3 pools in Gainesville this Fall and after that I may go to another team for Spring semester and finish up the year until trials there.

What do those coaching staffs do to help set you up for success?

Coach Steve really knows how to cater to my needs being a post-grad and basically training and competing at this point for the love of the sport. He is careful to make sure I keep having fun and does not make me do things that would lead to me burning out. There is a very fine line when it comes to swimming after college and some coaches just know how to handle their swimmers while others just don’t.

What has been your most memorable moment so far in swimming?

My most memorable moment was probably SEC championships in 2009 when I broke 1:40 and won the 200 Backstroke. I was excited because at the time I was the 4th person to do it I think.

What would you say your biggest accomplishment has been in swimming?

My biggest accomplishment in swimming was winning Short Course nationals in the 200 Freestyle

What are your top times?

200 Backstroke 1:57.0 and 1:39.8
100 Backstroke 54.8 and 45.8
200 Freestyle 1:49.0 and 1:34.9

What would you say motivates you?

I have a few motivators one is the desire to win. The other is proving people wrong.

What are some things that people may not know about you?

I was working towards my pilot license until I had to put it on hiatus for swimming. I used to race karts and motocross. I have a dog named Drake he is a German shorthaired pointer.

What is your favorite pump-up band or artist to listen to before racing?

I am always listening to some Dubstep.

Do you have any pre-meet rituals?

My only real pre-meet ritual involves staying up until about 1230am the night before my flight packing for the swim meet.    

What records do you hold?

Spruce Creek High School 100 Backstroke record holder

Auburn Pool Record 200 Backstroke

What is your favorite food?

I love my dad’s steak and twice baked potatoes with roasted carrots

Who has been the most influential person in your life?

The most influential people in my life are definitely my parents they have helped me so much no matter what it has to do with.

What would you say is the hardest practice that you have ever done?

The hardest practice that I have ever done was probably a tie between Saturday morning practice being 20x200’s Backstroke Long Course on 2:30 hold best average.  I think I was like 2:13-2:15.  

The other was Long Course 5x200 free on 2:15 then 1x200IM on 3:10, then 4x200 free on 2:20 and 2x200IM on 3:00, then 3x200free on 2:25 and 3x200IM on 2:50…and so on until 1x200 free on 2:35 and 5x200IM on 2:30 …I fell off a little during the last 200IM’s

At what point in your life did you know that you wanted to take swimming to the next level?

I think I knew at two points the first being a senior in high school I realized that I wanted to swim in college.  Then again during my sophomore year when I just barely made NCAA’s and then ended up not swimming the way that I wanted at the meet.

Please list any other additional information that you would like to share!

In addition to swimming, people might not know that I'm a co-founder of a fitness tech start-up, peerFit. We are currently developing a program which allows universities across the country to connect with their students in order to promote group fitness. Over 40 universities across the country tested it over the summer, and approximately 20 univerisites are launching it for the Fall semester. Besides swimming and school, peerFit is my life.


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