April 24, 2015
DENVER - Some exceptional athletes have the talent and skill to simply show up and upstage the opposition, but University of Denver swimmer Samantha Corea's progression is a model that can be beneficial to all. Her profound success, in and out of the pool, is the product of an age-old recipe for success -- hard work.
Corea (Vancouver, B.C.) spent her college career rewriting the Pioneer record books. The senior will leave DU with eight school records, more than any swimmer in school history. She finished off her impressive collegiate resume by breaking three DU records and medaling twice at the 2015 NCAA Championships.
Her time of 50.86 in the 100 butterfly was second best to Louisville's Kelsi Worrell, who set a new American record with a time 49.81. She went on to break another DU record (her own) in the 200 back, with a 3rd place time of 1:50.87, three seconds behind Cal's U.S. Olympian Missy Franklin. Corea's efforts led the Pioneers to a 28th place finish.
"If you were to tell me my freshman year that one day I would be standing on the podium at NCAA's, I would have called you a liar," she said. "To be completely honest I was a terribly lazy swimmer before I came to DU and I wouldn't always show up to practice. I eventually realized that being lazy would get me nowhere in life and that if I kept with my old ways I wouldn't achieve the level of success that I wanted. I quickly adopted a new attitude that not only benefited me in the water but also academically."
After committing to her new mindset, Corea blossomed into a model student-athlete, a three-time All-American and the best female swimmer in school history. She was named DU's Most Valuable Freshman and Sportswoman of the Year in 2012. In 2013, she was named WAC Swimmer of the Year and did the same in The Summit League in 2014 and 2015. Her 7th place finish in the 200 backstroke at the 2014 NCAA Championships was the best ever at DU until she one-upped her own performance with a 2nd and 3rd in 2015.
"Every year, she got better," said Coach Brian Schrader. "She changed her technique to work more and more on under water kicking and developed a better technique for her butterfly and mentally how she was going to race her races. She embraced the weight room and she might be the strongest female swimmer I have coached here or in some of my previous stops as an assistant, and we are talking quite a few women who were All-Americans in that crowd."
The hard work didn't just lead to success in the pool. Corea clearly embraced the term "student-athlete" as a two-part responsibility. As a Studio Art and English double major, she holds an impressive 3.75 GPA and has been named to the conference All-Academic team three times.
"As a student over four years, she was in a major that required a lot of hours in the studio," Schrader said. "It is really impressive how she managed that over four years, coming to nine swimming practices per week and three weight room sessions."
Regardless of what career path Corea decides to pursue, it's clear that she has set herself up for success wherever she goes. For now, though, she's not leaving the pool. She recently won Canada's National Title in the 50 fly and is on track to compete for a spot on the Canadian Olympic Team in 2016.
"Coming second to the world record holder, Kelsi Worrell, and third to the Olympian, Missy Franklin, was such an educational and thrilling experience for me," she said. "I thought to myself, if I'm standing up here on this podium with some of the greatest women in the sport that must mean I'm doing something right."
Article Courtesy of Joe Fries ...twitter@The7thFreezer