COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Pan Pacific Championships, one of the strongest international meets outside of the Olympic Games, the World Championships and the European Championships, are over but not before three members of the Ohio State men’s and women’s swimming teams made big splashes in their first international events as part of a senior national team.
Coach Bill Wadley’s Ohio State men’s team was represented on the U.S. national team by 2010-11 senior Elliott Keefer of Loveland, Ohio (near Cincinnati) and sophomore-to-be Tim Phillips, from Wheeling, W.Va. Ohio State, it should be noted, was the only university to have two current members of its swimming team make the 30-member U.S. Pan Pacific Championships roster.
Samantha Cheverton, from Lachine, Quebec and a senior this fall for coach Bill Dorenkott, was a member of Canada’s senior national team.
All three swimmers had special moments in Irvine, Calif., competing alongside U.S. Olympians such as Michael Phelps, Katie Hoff, Ryan Lochte and Natalie Coughlin and against Olympians from Australia, Canada and Japan.
Cheverton said the experience in her first big international competition has been awesome, especially since she went into the meet feeling no pressure.
“One thing that was great about this meet was that there was no pressure,” Cheverton said via email. “I was a rookie on the team, so I knew I could just go out there and have fun. Obviously there were still lots of nerves, but I tried to just turn it into excitement, and take everything in.”
Her excitement peaked while swimming the anchor leg on the 800 freestyle relay.
“Throughout the whole race we were up with the other teams, so when I got on the block I knew I just had to go for it and hold on,” Cheverton said. “The whole time I was in the water I could only see the lane that was right beside me, so when I touched the wall I had no idea what place we came. I looked up and saw my teammates cheering and then finally looked at the scoreboard and saw we came third! It was the first time in a very long time that Canada’s 4 x 2 has medaled internationally, and our time was top four or five in the world this year! It was a very proud moment to be able to stand on the podium representing my country.”
Now doubt Keefer and Phillips have those feelings of pride, as well, that only come with representing one’s country as part of a senior national team. A couple of coaches and teammates and an entire University are proud of these individuals as well.
Well done, swimmers.