Athlete of the Week: Ben Sampson
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - The Colorado Mesa University Swim and Dive team wrapped up a program defining run at the NCAA Division II Championships.
The Mavericks had 21 athletes finish earning at least one first team All-American honor.
Redshirt Sophomore Ben Sampson helped lead the charge, bringing home two national titles for the Maverick men’s team. The Maverick Men’s team did not have a national title prior. The only national title in the program history belonged to Redshirt Senior Lily Borgenheimer.
“It was just so much fun, that meet is always the best meet of the season, two national championships, fun at an all my events guys placed fifth we got six last year and we weren’t even ranked couple years ago so just been improving so much. Girls got fourth, they got a trophy. Overall called success,” Sampson said.
Sampson took home titles in the 200-yard Individual Medley, and then followed it up the next day by also taking home the title in the 200-yard backstroke.
“I would definitely say that the 200 backstroke was the one I was most confident in. But the Two-IM, when I was behind the blocks, I was really thinking I could win that one,” Sampson said, “I was just glad I could get that done, and start the meet off at a high note. I hit the wall and I was in shock for sure.”
Sampson’s titles are a part of the meteoric rise CMU Swimming and Diving has experienced over the last couple of years.
“I think it definitely says something for sure. I don’t even think anyone really knew who we were three years ago. And now, you know, I had a lot of people come up to me, it was like, I got to watch out for you guys,” Sampson said.
The cherry on top of it all, following the NCAA meet, Sampson was named the NCAA DII swimmer of the year.
“I found that out at dinner last night, my coach said call me right now, and he called me and he’s like, you did it,” Sampson said, “I think winning that, you have to be an all around swimmer. You can’t just be good at one thing. And you got to put a lot of points up for your team. When I got that call last night, I was like, wow, that’s the first time it kind of hit me something that I was super proud of. Real happy with.”
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