Mindset of 3-Sport Athlete Guides His Success


Tony Van Sambeek stands on the block receiving a ribbon for his 8th place finish at the FVA conference meet.

Trevor Oneacre, Student of Journalism

Unable to hear his surroundings, Anthony Van Sambeek, 17, gets in a mindset to win.

Hoping to break his record, he races off the block into the water. Within the blink of an eye, his race is over with no time to think.

Appearing at the sectional meet is impressive, but it’s more impressive with background knowledge. Tony has only been a competitive swimmer for two years.

At the start of the season, Tony is only able to complete the 100 freestyle in 1 minute, which is nothing impressive.  Then he drops 7 seconds — delivering a sense of  insecurity to people who thought their spots “safe” on the sectional team.

He hasn’t done this alone.

People offer advice and push him along every step.

Not everything, however, comes easy to Tony — facing many hardships whether it be from making a silly mistake in a race to dealing with the stress that comes with competing.

The benefits of sports, like making friends and the feeling of winning, outweigh these setbacks and drive him to improve.

As a three-sport athlete, he struggles with his workload.  On top of that, he never stops training, paying attention to little things and listening to improve.

Competing at varsity for three sports leaves little time for sleep. Morning practice at 5:45 a.m.  Meets until 9 p.m. Sports quickly consume the major of his days.

It can be hard to get anything done, but as a role model to underclassmen, Tony forgets about himself and his busy schedule.

His work ethic guides him.

He advices:  “Keep working your tail off in and out of season and your goals will soon be achieved, but you gotta keep with the training, no days off.”

Clearly, Tony models his positive mindset and leads by example in the pool and outside of it.