How They Train Sam Postmus – Sponsored by TritonWear

Photo Courtesy: Grand Valley State University

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Sam Postmus finished her senior eligibility with a flourish at this year’s NCAA Division II Championships. The Wayland, Mich. product closed out her Laker career as an 11-time All-American, adding four more top-16 finishes in the 400 IM (third, 4:20.12), 200 IM (14th, 2:04.12), 800 free relay (14th) and 200 back (16th, 2:03.00). She is also a three-time GLIAC champion, ending her college career with 14 top-three conference finishes.

Originally a distance swimmer, over time Postmus expanded her aquatic repertoire.

“Sam is one of the most versatile swimmers in Grand Valley history,” says her coach Andy Boyce. “At the NCAAs her freshman year, she was eighth in the 1000 yard freestyle (10:06.03) and 14th in the 400 IM (4:26.58). Then we started moving her even more toward IM and backstroke.

At the following season’s NCAA meet, she placed eighth in the 400 IM (4:58.42), 16th in the 1000 free (10:18.44) and joined her teammates in placing fourth and setting a school record in the 800 free relay (7:23.58).

As a junior, she clocked 4:27.37 to finish 14th in the 400 IM, and she led off the Lakers’ fifth-place 800 free relay (7:24.75) in 1:52.71. Postmus also holds school records in the 200 IM (2:02.58), 400 IM (4:20.12) and 200 back (1:59.80), and is a member of the Laker-leading 400 free relay (3:25.83).

“Stress of a big meet never seems to phase her,” says Boyce, “and she is very matter-of-fact and easygoing. She is well liked by her teammates, and at most big meets, nearly everyone gets a selfie with Sam. In practice, she’s a fun person who gives a lot of effort—someone who rolls with the punches and keeps on getting better as a swimmer. You can tell her you’re swimming a mile today, and she is like, ‘O.K.’ Most people react like, ‘Oh man, not the mile.’ Nothing fazes Sam, really. She will just work hard in the pool.”

A foreign language major, Postmus will return to Grand Valley next year for two more semesters of honing her linguistic skills in preparation for a life after 18 years of competitive swimming.

In all, her time in Allendale has been well-spent, especially for someone who originally sought Michigan State—an opinion she changed after observing how energetic and team-focused the GVSU Laker squad seemed to be. “The best decision of my life,” she proclaims.


“We usually do some sort of high-intensity/high-lactate acid-type set on Tuesdays. Following are two that Sam did this winter. Since she is so versatile, we trained her in IM and back on these particular days,” says coach Boyce.

• 6 x 200 IM @ 8:00
“On these, Sam went 2:09.7, 2:14.19, 2:15.4, 2:15.7, 2:18.3, 2:15.4. She got a little excited on the first one, but held it together pretty well after that to average 2:14.7.”

• 6 x 100 back @ 8:00
“The next week, we did this backstroke set. On those, Sam swam 1:01.9, 1:02.3, 1:01.8, 1:01.7, 1:02.0, 1:01.5, averaging 1:01.87.

“She doesn’t really swim the 100 back, but this was helpful for her speed in the 200 back and IM.”

Progression of Times

200 Free1:52.611:50.791:51.641:51.13
200 Back------1:59.802:01.07
200 IM2:04.912:05.162:02.582:03.51
400 IM4:23.104:25.194:20.414:20.12

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This article originally ran in the May 2018 issue of Swimming World Magazine.