At one point, Swim Florida coach Mac Kennedy was on the fence about staying in Indianapolis for the duration of the five-day Phillips 66 National Championships & World Championship Trials.
After four races and three combined personal bests by Fort Myers swimmers Kendall Brent and Logan Samuelson, the veteran coach knew he ultimately made the right decision.
“I thought the experience part of the trials would be important for the future,” Kennedy said. “That’s why we’re here.”
Brent, 14, placed 18th in the 1500-meter freestyle (16:56.18) Saturday and 19th in the 800-meter (8:47.64) Tuesday. Her 800 time is a new personal best.
Although she didn’t walk away with a new best in the 1500, Brent was grateful for all she learned at her first national event.
“I think for the most part I did really well,” Brent said. “I learned a lot, I learned that I shouldn’t get so excited. I should have been able to take it out faster that I did in the mile.”
Brent will next swim in the 1500-meter at the U.S. Open Swimming Championships July 30-Aug. 3 at the William Woollett Jr. Aquatics Center in Irvine, Calif. She will stretch herself more Aug 5-9 at the Speedo Junior National Championships, also in Irvine, swimming in the 400, 800, 1500 and possibly the 200.
“Honestly this was the best experience I ever had,” Brent said of completing at the trials. “Being around all the Olympic athletes was amazing and so much fun.”
Samuelson, 17, earned two new personal bests placing 18th in the 1500 freestyle (15:50.34) and 13th in the 800 meter (8:16.02). His 800-meter time was a three second drop and earned four points for Swim Florida — it’s only points at the trials.
“It was definitely a cool experience and something that motivates you,” Samuelson said. “I’m looking forward to the next one and I’m excited to work hard when I get back home.”
Samuelson returned home and on July 1 colleges can begin to call him. He is anticipating visits from LSU, Auburn and Iowa before he travels to the U.S. Open Swimming Championships.
He will be swimming in the 800 at the U.S. Open but will compete in the 200, 400, 800 and 1500 at the Junior National Championships.
“They did great,” Kennedy said. “It was a great experience for them and they handled it really well.”