Since she was six years old, Pierce College student Samantha Elam has participated in deaf swimming competitions.
This summer, she was picked to go to Coimbra, Portugal for the 3rd World Deaf Swimming Championships to compete for Team U.S.A.
During this one week event, which took place from Aug. 6 to 13, Elam won a bronze medal in the women’s 800m Freestyle with a time of 9:56.68, won a gold medal and broke the world record as a member of the 200m Free Relay team, which posted a time of 8:49.55.
“Being able to represent the US team was such an honor. Im so honored to be a part of such a great team. Most of my teammates and i did not know each other before the meet, now all of us are great friends and have created a life long friendship. ” said Elam.
At her first event Elam only ranked 9th place in the women’s 200m Freestyle with a time of 2:18.00. It didn’t get her down though, she said she felt more excited at the time than nervous.
Winning her first medal in the competition overwhelmed Elam with Joy, she said.
“Once I touched the wall, and saw I had hit a personal best time and got my first individual medal at an international meet I couldn’t have been any happier at that moment.” she said.
Elam also ranked 3rd in the women’s 400m Freestyle with a time of 4:42.94 and 4th in the women’s 400m Freestyle and 100m Freestyle Relay with a time of 4:41.33. and 4:06.30 respectively.
After winning a medal at the event each competitor had to be drug tested, Elam wasn’t an exception to the rule.
“I had to drink five and a half large water bottles. After that i was up all night going to the bathroom every 5 minutes,” she said. “It was horrible but other than that i was very happy.”
Fred Shaw, Pierce College swim coach, said Elam was training harder this summer in preparation for her future swim meets. He predicts a better upcoming season for her.
“I’m so proud of Sam, she really is a great swimmer,” said Shaw. “She hasn’t stopped training since she returned from Portugal.”