By Gaige Winchester
For most, winning a high school state championship in their sport is a dream come true. But for two Delta High School seniors, it’s just a step along the way.
Swimmer Brady Samuels and diver Sam Bennett are both Purdue University commits with goals that extend far beyond high school competition.
Winning a state championship is no easy feat, but it comes as no surprise to Samuels and Bennett that it’s a task they accomplished. They both say they saw this coming.
Samuels won the 50 freestyle (:19.72) and 100 butterfly (:47.05) state titles on Saturday, Feb. 27 at the Natatorium in Indianapolis. Bennett repeated as state diving champ with the second-highest score in state history (615.55 points).
Bennett says that after his big win, he felt more relief than joy.
“The past week has been tough, trying to prepare to compete at a high level and do what I wanted to do at that meet,” said Bennett, who won last year’s state title with a score of 510 points. “It was like a weight off my shoulders when I saw I won.”
Samuels felt a bit more joyous but he still says he saw it coming. He credits his success to his coach, Laura Seibold-Caudill, and his parents, Patrick and Jackie Samuels.
“Laura definitely helped a lot,” he said. “She comes in early and stays late for me, and it just helps a ton.”
Samuels says looking forward, the goal in his mind is to become a Big Ten Conference champion. He says there aren’t really any smaller goals because coming up short isn’t an option. He is likely to swim the 50 and 100 free events and the 100 fly.
He said he will next swim in some national events in May with the hopes of qualifying for the Olympic Trials in June in Lincoln, Neb. He missed by two-hundredths of a second in a qualifier event last November.
Bennett also has big goals in mind for the future. He has a Junior Nationals event coming up in late July, in Bloomington, Ind., that he’s attempting to qualify for, and he wants to place in the top five. This is a big goal for Bennett, but he says he thinks about a quote he heard a long time ago when setting goals.
“Shoot for the moon and even if you miss you’ll still be in the stars,” Bennett said. “One of my old coaches told me that and although I find it corny, it really applies.”
Samuels and Bennett have set some high goals and expectations for themselves, but one thing is certain, these two young men have much to look forward to in the next few years.
MORE ON VIDEO
Brady and Sam sat down for a video interview with Eagle Zone News reporter Matthew Ward-Thomas:
(If you have trouble getting it to play, instead of clicking on the Play button, click on the video itself)