Swimming: Samudro can fly for CdM

Some people freaked out last week when the temperatures approached 100 degrees in Newport Beach.

Corona del Mar High senior Stephanie Samudro simply smiled.

Samudro loves the hot weather. Maybe it traces back to her roots in humid Indonesia. She was born there, has a dual citizenship and still visits to see her grandparents.

"I love the humid weather," said Samudro, who will experience more of a dry heat when she starts college swimming next year at UNLV. "I just hate the cold. When it's gloomy I don't even want to get out of the house."

Samudro certainly knows how to swim blazingly fast. The Daily Pilot Athlete of the Week has shown it time and again, ever since she transferred to CdM from San Marino High as a junior.

Last year, Samudro was a key piece on a CdM team that finished second in CIF Southern Section Division 1. But all of the other top swimmers graduated. Samudro's good friend Brynne Wong is now at the University of Texas, Ally McCormick is at BYU and the Greek twins, Stephania and Ioanna Haralabidis, are at USC.

Samudro is more of a senior leader this year for the Sea Kings. She has shown that leadership for CdM this season, both in the water and out. Last week, she helped the Sea Kings defeat rival University in a Pacific Coast League meet for the first time in eight years. On Friday at Woollett Aquatics Center, Samudro won the 100-yard butterfly and breaststroke. Samudro, Meagan Popp, Maddie Musselman and Nicole Lin also teamed to win two relays as CdM won league, also for the first time since 2006.

Samudro and Popp, along with Irvine's Princeton-bound senior Emily Jiang, were all co-swimmers of the meet on the girls' side.

In her two events, the butterfly and breaststroke, Samudro is nearly untouchable. She's approaching the school record of CdM assistant coach Stephanie Gabert, a 1:02.71, in the latter event.

Samudro was aiming at Gabert's league finals meet record of 1:03.07 in the breast. She didn't quite get it, touching in 1:03.46, but there will be more chances to go fast next week at CIF.

Gabert knows Samudro will go fast in her final high school meet. She said that in some ways, Samudro reminds her of herself.

"She's very friendly, and I've always been very friendly," said Gabert, who swam at the University of Arizona and UC Irvine. "Her name's Stephanie, and my name's Stephanie. I don't know. She just has a very good, honest personality. She's very humble, and I really respect her in that way. If anyone would break my record, [I hope] it would be her."

During Gabert's time at CdM, the Sea Kings competed in Division 2. But, like Gabert, Samudro has been a mainstay at CIF finals. Ever since she was a freshman, Samudro has qualified for the championship finals of both the breaststroke and butterfly. She achieved her best finishes last year, taking fourth place in the fly and third in the breast.

"It's my last one," Samudro said of next week's CIF finals at Riverside City College. "It's a sad, bittersweet moment, but I'm really looking forward to starting a new chapter in my life."

Samudro has swam club since she was 9, when she joined Rose Bowl Swim Team. But she said she stepped up her training before her junior year, when her family moved to Newport Beach. She joined Golden West Swim Club, where she is coached by former USA Swimming national team head coach Mark Schubert.

"I started double practices," said Samudro, who trains in the early morning and afternoon. "Training here is a lot harder. I saw a big-time improvement."

Samudro's personal-best times in her events are a 54.7 in the butterfly and a 1:03.36 in the breaststroke. She accomplished both of those at a club meet. But they are definitely in play next week at CIF.

"CIF is a different atmosphere, because you're with your high school team and everyone's watching," Samudro said. "It's really fun. You just want to do your best for your school."

At UNLV, Samudro plans to study hospitality management. It's a good place to do it, as she can possibly intern at a hotel on the Las Vegas Strip. She said she wants to own her own business one day, in event planning or maybe in the travel industry.

The plan for the end of her high school career is easy. Swim fast. And she'll continue doing so.

"Any time we need a win or a stop, we put her in that event and she wins," CdM girls' swim Coach Doug Volding said. "She qualified for CIF right out of the gate, so I knew I could do other things with her throughout the season. That was a luxury for me ... 'Wherever you need me.' You hear that all the time."

The comment indicates Samudro's easy-going personality. But in the water, it's the opposite.

"She's very kind, gracious, always smiling," Volding said. "Then she hits the water and just turns into a shark."

Stephanie Samudro

Born: Aug. 7, 1996

Hometown: Jakarta, Indonesia

Height: 5-foot-4

Sport: Swimming

Year: Senior

Coach: Doug Volding

Favorite food: Greek food

Favorite movie: "A Walk to Remember"

Favorite athletic moment: Helping the Corona del Mar High girls' swim team finish second at last year's CIF Southern Section Division 1 finals.

Week in review: Samudro won the 100-yard butterfly and 100 breaststroke as CdM topped University in a league meet for the first time in eight years. She also was on two winning relays.

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