Fort Myers High School swimmers Kendall Brent and Logan Samuelson are soaking in their time among the nation’s elite swimmers, including Olympians Ryan Lochte, Missy Franklin and Katie Ledecky.
The local pair are among 800 of the United States most elite swimmers competing at the 2013 Phillips 66 National Championships & World Championship Trials at IUPUI in Indianapolis beginning today and running through Saturday.
“I talked to a couple guys and took in as much as I could,” Samuelson said. “It’s like the Hollywood stars are coming out to play here.”
Brent and Samuelson are in their own right. Brent is a rising star in the swim world, Samuelson is one of the most sought after recruits in the country.
Samuelson, 17, will make his debut on the national stage today in the 1500 freestyle. He will also swim in Saturday’s 800 freestyle.
Samuelson is familiar with the IUPUI pool, having competed in the junior nationals there last August.
“I wouldn’t say I’m nervous,” he said. “Definitely have lots of adrenaline seeing all these coaches here and that motivates you to go faster.”
Samuelson has been in contact with Georgia, Tennessee, Auburn and South Carolina among with other high-level, Division I schools.
Brent, 14, has made a big splash in the national swimming world with just one year of high school under her belt. She will swim in the today’s 800 freestyle and Saturday’s 1500 free. She holds the 11th best time entering the 1500.
“I just want to go out there and win my heat,” Brent said. “I want to drop at least five seconds off my time in the 800 and 1500.”
Swim Florida coach Mac Kennedy, with 40-plus years of coaching experience, says Brent’s work ethic has positioned her among the nation’s best early in her career.
“She’s always been a good distance swimmer but within the last year she’s improved dramatically,” Kennedy said. “Her coming in 11th is pretty unheard of for someone her age and relatively new to this caliber of a meet.
“She’s very focused and determined. She does exactly what I ask her to do training-wise and has a happy-go-lucky attitude that makes her fun to be around. Her success doesn’t surprise me because she earned it.”
After the World Championship Trials, the pair will return to Fort Myers to train before heading to Irvine, Calif., for the U.S. Open Swimming Championships on July 30-Aug. 3 at the William Woollett Jr. Aquatics Center. Two days later, they will compete in the Speedo Junior National Championships, also in Irvine.
“These guys make my job easy. They do what I ask them to do and have good attitudes,” Kennedy said. “They’re good listeners and when we make mistakes along the way we learn and we move on.”