COLUMBUS, Ohio – Life is good in the water for Samantha Cheverton, Ohio State’s talented senior swimmer from Lachine, Quebec. And it’s only going to get better.

Cheverton, who recently capped her Ohio State career with a Big Ten individual title in the 200 freestyle and four All-America honors at the NCAA swimming and diving championships, now has a world-wide meet on her schedule: the 2011 FINA World Championships that will be held this summer in Shanghai, China.

Swimming this past weekend at the Canadian world championship trials at the Saanich Commonwealth Place in Victoria, British Columbia, Cheverton swam to national championships in the 200 freestyle and 400 freestyle events to make the 2011 Canadian national team that will compete at the World Championships.

“I’m not sure it has quite sunk in yet,” Cheverton said in an email Monday after returning from the meet. “I figured I had an outside shot of making the team. I never imagined actually winning two events!!!”

She won the 400 freestyle gold in 4:09.67, a win that was called a surprise by the Canadian press. Then she came back to win gold in the 200 freestyle in 1:58.80. This win turned her “surprising” meet into an “impressive” meet. Cheverton beat Barbara Jardin to the finish in both events with both swimmers going below the World Championships standard. 

“This is exactly what I wanted to do at this meet,” Cheverton said after winning the 200. “I couldn’t have dreamed of having a better performance with best times and making the team. Having made the team initially in the 400 freestyle (on Wednesday) relieved a lot of pressure for tonight. I really wanted to win so bad.”

Her times were not only personal bests, but each are among the Top 20 right now in the world, according to Ohio State coach Bill Dorenkott.

“Sam’s performances this weekend were huge,” Dorenkott said. “This was the most significant meet on the calendar. This is her second national ‘A’ team and her first two national championships. The next step now is to make the Canadian Olympic team.” 

What really is remarkable is the fact that Cheverton has been able to swim so fast for about six weeks now. Consider:

  • At the Big Ten championships Feb. 16-19, she swam to personal best times twice in the 200 freestyle, taking first in the finals in 1:44.56.
  • One month later at the NCAA championships, she just missed her own school record in the 500 free (4:39.71) by going 4:39.93.
  • And then two weeks later she set personal long course bests in the 200 and 400.

“We made a conscientious decision to Sam’s training regime that would allow her to swim fast for a while,” Dorenkott said.

Before Cheverton takes off for the World Championships, she will finish her spring quarter classes at Ohio State. The two-time Big Ten Conference Distinguished Scholar and three-time OSU Scholar-Athlete has already graduated – she received her bachelor’s degree in psychology in December – so she is taking a couple of classes toward a second degree in human development and family studies. Soon after the quarter ends, though, it will be off to China.

“I have never been to Asia, so I am so, so excited to go,” Cheverton wrote. “I am sure it will be quite the experience and culture shock!”

Life, indeed, is good.