Following in the footsteps of a successful athlete is never easy, especially when it's your big sister.
Samantha TenEyck is the younger sibling of Brittany TenEyck, who won Division II state diving championships for Lake High School in 2006 and '07. Brittany is now a junior diver at the University of Cincinnati.
Samantha, a sophomore at Lake, is a first-year diver for the Flyers, who did not have swimming and diving a year ago. Hunter Bell, Chelsea Bell and Adrianna Cannon also compete for Lake this season.
Samantha has shown lots of potential this season, but she doesn't make a big deal out of following her big sister's legacy on the diving board.
"Yeah, I do feel some pressure but it's not like I'm going to beat myself up for it," Samantha said. "If I'm not as good her, it's not going to bring me down. I'm still going to try to do my best. She was an amazing diver."
Samantha, like Brittany, is coached by their father, Scott TenEyck, who is also the diving coach for St. Francis de Sales and St. Ursula Academy high schools. Lake's swimmers and divers practice at the St. Francis pool.
Samantha TenEyck gets a lot of her motivation to improve through fellow diver and good friend Bailey Dipman, a freshman at Genoa. The two have known each other for more than five years.
"They push each other," said Scott TenEyck, who also coaches Dipman. "Bailey wants to beat Samantha, and Samantha's goal is to beat Bailey."
"It's nice diving with Bailey because we are pretty much at the same skill level," Samantha said. "We are competing all the time on who can do better. But no matter what, we're still proud of each other with how we dive."
Dipman, who at 5-7 is nearly five inches taller than Samantha, said she enjoys the friendly competition with TenEyck.
"At all the meets, we're always competing against each other," Dipman said. "I watch her and then I try to do better. We try to push each other."
TenEyck, 15, started diving around age 7 with her four sisters. Her other two sisters, Alexis and Jessica, gave up diving at a later age.
This season, Samantha has placed 13th at the St. Francis Knight Invitational on Dec. 19 and placed fifth at the Solon Extravaganza on Dec. 28. She said her best meet thus far was at the Little Giant Invitational on Jan. 8 at Fremont Ross, where she took seventh.
"I threw harder dives," TenEyck said, "and I did them pretty good."
Samantha's father compared her to former Lake diver Krista Sanders, a four-time state qualifier who placed sixth in the state as a senior.
"Sam is more muscular, just like Krista," coach TenEyck said. "She's a powerful diver, but she doesn't have the lines like Bailey does. I like her strength and her determination. She needs work on fine-tuning things. She doesn't have the lines like a lot of divers because she's smaller, so she has to stretch to make it look like she's taller."
In Ohio high school competition, depending on the size of the event, divers do as few as six or as many as 11 dives. TenEyck said her favorite dive is a reverse double.
"It's just a fun dive because you're spinning in the air and it gives you adrenaline to do it," she said. "I like my front one-and-a-half pike because it's easy to control and you can do that dive so pretty and get good scores. That's one of my really good dives."
TenEyck, who was a varsity football cheerleader last season, wants nothing more than to qualify for the state tournament Feb. 24-27 in Canton.
"If I push myself hard enough, I'm not that far away," she said. "If I try hard enough, I can get there. I have to start focusing more and try to have more confidence in myself."