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10 Questions With Sam Palser

They spend hours upon hours underwater and usually wear the intoxicating aroma of chlorine. Having grown up in the same house as a swimmer (the infamous @TheLarsTC), I can say without question that swimmers are a unique species.

Another swimmer I’ve gotten close with over the years is Sam Palser, a senior on the Penn State women’s swimming team and longtime friend of mine from back home. This weekend, she will join six other members of the Penn State women’s swimming team at the NCAA Championships in Auburn, Alabama. I caught up with Sam about her stellar Penn State career, excitement for this weekend’s Championships, and whatever else I felt like asking.

OS: What do you hope to accomplish this weekend at the NCAA Championships?

SP: Individually, I want to swim faster in the 100 Freestyle. It would be really cool to make the top 16 in the 50 or 100. I want our relays to make it back (for finals) too!

OS: What is your proudest accomplishment from your career at Penn State?

SP: The improvement from freshman year to senior year and making NCAAs individually. We won two relays at Big Tens so that was probably one of the most exciting ones as well.

OS: You mentioned improvement. What contributed to that?

SP: A lot of hard work. Freshman year I learned a lot about what it takes. This year, we focused a lot on our lifting and being more of a team unit because that’s always beneficial, especially for the relays. For me, I focused on practice a lot more because that’s how you get better. Practice, lifting, and trying to stay positive!

OS: What would people who don’t follow swimming be surprised about the sport?

SP: The time commitment. We have one practice in the morning, then a lift, then a two-hour practice in the afternoon every day. We have one practice on Saturday morning at 7 A.M., which is tough in the fall when everyone is already heading to the football games.

OS: Do you have any special rituals before a meet?

SP: I like to eat whatever I want. Not the day of the race, because I don’t want to stuff myself then, but eating whatever I want, eating candy, whatever makes me happy. I don’t really have a ritual, I just try to relax, I’m pretty boring with that. You swim better when there’s less pressure.

OS: What is your most embarrassing moment in the pool?

SP: When I was younger, I miscounted a 200 and stopped at the 150. I got out, causing everyone else to stop. I started crying, it was embarrassing. There’s too many other random ones to mention.

OS: My sister tells me you love nail polish. What is your nail polish color of choice for this weekend?

SP: (laughs) I don’t know, I actually brought like seven different colors here. In general, we usually do blue with some type of paw print for fingernails. We all love hot pink for toes. For me, I definitely love the full sparkle effect (rainbow sparkles) for my nails.

OS: If you were at Penn State and only had $1 to spend, what would you do with it?

SP: You can’t do much with a dollar! I’d probably buy a lottery ticket.

OS: If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?

SP: People always say pizza, but I don’t love pizza. I’d say chips and salsa or lasagna. I have a lot of favorite foods and can’t think of just one, but I’m always up for chips and salsa.

OS: Do you have any nicknames?

SP: I had two random ones in high school, Samauri and Samasaurus. I have no idea why.

OS: What are you really bad at?

SP: Nothing! Actually, I would say percentages. I am terrible at giving tips, I can’t do the math at all. I just let everyone else do it.

OS: What is your favorite dinosaur?

SP: What’s the one that has the horn in the front? With the big plates? A triceratops? I like him. I don’t know why, he just looks the coolest.

Check this weekend for results from the NCAA Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships. Good luck, Nittany Lions!

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About the Author

John Tecce

John is a senior in the Smeal College of Business majoring in Marketing. He currently serves as the President of the Paternoville Coordination Committee and as a THON Chair for Nittany Nation. He tweets a lot.

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