Courtesy of Ohio State Athletics
The past three months of Samantha Cheverton’s life have been amazing — but you wouldn’t know it while sitting down with the soft-spoken swimmer at the McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion.
In February, she won the Big Ten individual title in the 200 freestyle. In March, she garnered four All-America honors at the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships. Then, in April, something even greater happened.
Cheverton qualified for the Federation Internationale de Natation (FINA) World Championships for Canada at the trials in Victoria, British Columbia.
The championships will be held August in Shanghai.
Cheverton won two events, the 200 and 400 freestyle with personal bests times of 1:58.80 and 4:09.67, respectively.
“That was really unexpected,” she said. “I made the team but also won two events. I had never won an event at nationals before.”
The swimmer from Lachine, Quebec, was not the only one surprised by it.
Coach Bill Dorenkott felt the same when he saw the results.
“I was at home, and when I saw the results on my computer I started screaming,” he said. “My wife came in and asked what’s wrong.”
Cheverton had experience with this song and dance before. The year prior, it was the same routine with all three events falling within 10 weeks of each other.
However, this time she felt better prepared and more at ease.
“I think our training at the beginning of this year was a lot tougher, more intervals. Maybe that helped me have three solid meets in a row,” she said. “And that’s tough to do not just physically but mentally and emotionally.”
Cheverton did have one other thing to help her through it all: her team.
“Big Tens is really our focus. We don’t even really talk about NCAAs until it’s over,” she said. “The one thing I love about college swimming is that it is still a team sport. You want to do well so you can get points for your team.”
Her fellow OSU swimmers made sure they were there in Canada, in some way, supporting her.
“Through Facebook and other means you are always getting messages encouraging you. When I won the 400 free(style), I got like 1,000 text messages from people saying, ‘Good job!'”
You wouldn’t know by her post-race interview how excited she really was.
“People made fun of me because they pull you out of the pool and immediately interview you when you win,” Cheverton said. “Apparently I sounded not excited at all, but I think I was just in shock.”
Though she finished her degree in psychology in December, Cheverton has already started working on a second degree, in human development and family studies.
She will take some time off from swimming to recuperate, then focus on the task ahead.
Dorenkott said he feels there can be more swimming in her future.
“It’s another step in her development as an athlete,” he said.