ELKINS - The high school swimming season is underway, but for Samantha Hall, a 16-year-old Elkins High School junior with six state titles already to her credit, swimming season lasts all year long.
Samantha jumped into the pool when she was 4 years old and discovered she loved to swim. When she turned 12, she realized she was good and started to take the sport seriously, although the word seriously may be an understatement.
As a freshman at EHS, Samantha won the 50-yard freestyle race at the state meet. In addition to that, she was part of the 200-yard and 400-yard freestyle relays that not only won titles but set the state records for those events.
In her sophomore year, she repeated as the champion of the 50-yard freestyle and also won in the 100-yard freestyle. Once again she was part of the winning 200-yard freestyle relay team.
How did she come by these results?
Before the school day even starts, Samantha has already been up and training for 45 minutes. During the high school swim season she practices in the evenings with the team and trains on her own after practice.
However, the rest of the year, in addition to her early morning session, Samantha will put in another two hours or longer in the pool and swim between 7,000 to 8,000 yards a day. She doesn't take weekends off either; on Saturdays she swims three more hours and another 10,000 to 13,000 yards.
She stated her goals for this year's state meet: "I'm a very competitive person. I want to break the record in every event I'm in! "
Samantha also swims for the Harrison Area YMCA Swim Team, or HAYST, and for HEAT, which is sponsored by the USA's Olympic Swimming arm.
Swimming for HEAT, she has competed in Ft. Lauderdale, Atlanta and Pittsburgh, and at various other meets in North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, and Ohio.
As for her future plans, Samantha said, "I definitely want to swim at a Division One college and I want to go to the Olympic trials."
Out of the pool, she's a teenager. She likes going to the beach, bike-riding and spending time with her family and friends.
Meghan Hall, Samantha's mother, stated, "I am often in awe of her dedication and commitment.
"We are very proud of all she has accomplished both in and out of the pool. She's a very strong, smart and talented girl who works very hard to reach the goals she has set for herself. She also takes a lot of pride in her efforts and the fact that she has been able to represent her school and her town so well. That's important to her and she takes it very seriously."