A Grand Rapids, MI native, Joey began swimming for the Rapids Area YMCA (RAYS) at 8 years old and eventually swam for Grand Rapids Catholic Central High School. He is passionate about leadership and using his experiences to help build the swimming community. All three of his younger siblings swim or have swam, including brother Ben Puglessi who recently signed his NLI to swim at Seton Hall University beginning in the Fall of 2018.
Joey swam his freshman year at the University at Buffalo (NY) until the program was abruptly cut on April 3, 2017. Now a sophomore on the University of Cincinnati Men’s Swim Team, he is pursuing a double major in marketing and finance as well as a minor in management.
In the fall of 2017, Joey had multiple unexpected seizures, which shaped his first semester in and out of the pool. He was able to use this as a learning experience and as an opportunity to launch his writing position with SwimSwam, after submitting an article documenting his obstacles in a way that he hoped would inspire other swimmers dealing with difficult times to embrace the challenges of life in a positive manner.
Joey is a lifeguard and also runs a sole proprietorship teaching private swim lessons. He enjoys traveling, writing, hanging out with friends, playing the piano, and eating…lots and lots of food. One flaw of his is that he often enjoys the social aspect of swimming a little too much, but it has helped him make great friends from all over the country!