Local swimmer Samantha Terranova hoping hard work, dedication will lead to college career
Steamboat Springs — The temperatures outside remind us all that it’s December in the Colorado high country, but the chilly weather hasn’t kept Steamboat Springs High School junior Samantha Terranova from heating up the pool.
Terranova traveled to Gainesville, Florida, earlier this month, where she placed second in the 200-yard backstroke at the Gator Swim Club’s Holiday Classic. The race was won by Florida swimmer Morgan Kaisrlik, who completed the race in a time of 2 minutes, 1.94 seconds. Terranova dropped 2 seconds off her previous personal best to finish at 2:07.58, and another Florida swimmer, Juanita Ballesteros, was third with a time of 2:10.88.
It was a top result for Terranova, who also placed fifth in the 400-yard individual medley, fifth in the mile, sixth in the 100-yard backstroke, sixth in the 500-yard freestyle and seventh in the 200-yard freestyle race during the three-day event, which ran from Dec. 5 to 7.
Terranova recorded personal-best times in all seven events she entered.
“Yes, I’m very happy,” Terranova said when asked about her showing in Florida. “I had hoped to drop time, but my finishes were a surprise to everyone. We had a lot of fun.”
For Terranova, the meet represents another step in her journey to reach the collegiate level.
“This meet sets the table for where we will be going,” Terranova’s coach Gordon Gerson said. “The junior year is what most college coaches tend to focus on.”
Terranova currently is swimming with the Aspen Swim Club, and she doesn’t hide the fact that she wants to extend her swimming career beyond high school.
“There is no question that she will be able to swim at the college level,” Gerson said. “It’s even more impressive because she is doing it by herself.”
As her coach, Gerson, who is based in Aspen, sends a text to Terranova detailing her daily workouts, and she gets a helping hand from her mother, who is normally poolside keeping track of her splits.
“Gordon usually sends me a text each day. He asks me how I slept, how I’m feeling and then sends me the workout for that day,” Terranova said.
The coach said he watches Terranova’s times closely, and if he senses there might be a problem, he might ask for a video of Samantha swimming. Samantha also travels to Aspen for camps and travels with the team to meets.
“So far, it has worked really well,” Gerson said about the arrangement. “Samantha’s times are improving with every meet.
“I always look at the times rather than the places,” Gerson explained. “The places are ultimately a reflection of who shows up at the meets.”
Terranova spends about 15 to 16 hours each week training in the pool with morning and afternoon workouts. Another independent swimmer, Carissa Anderson, works out with Terranova on most days. The two are not teammates but have developed a friendship that helps make practice a little more bearable.
“Having her there and training with me helps a lot,” Terranova said about Anderson. “We push one another to get better — to get faster.”
Terranova started swimming in Steamboat eight years ago and joined the Aspen Swim Club last June — the decision to leave Steamboat to compete with Aspen was a decision she made with her parents, Dave and Jodi Terranova, for personal reasons.
The meet in Florida was important, but Samantha Terranova said it wasn’t the biggest meet she’s attended this year.
However, Gerson said the results of this meet are a great starting place for Terranova and her goals.
“Samantha is dedicated and hard working,” Gerson said. “Whatever her goals, there is no question that she is going to achieve them.”
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