Sam Dienstag ’24, a leading swimmer for the Brandeis Judges and a business and economics major, has recently competed in Nationals against the best college swimmers in the nation. Dienstag’s swimming career began when he was seven years old, when he “tried basically every sport at a young age, and then [he] realized that he enjoyed swimming more than other sports,” Dienstag told The Brandeis Hoot in an interview. Dienstag later elaborated that he “eventually stuck with it and got involved in more competitions, though at first it was mostly just for fun.” Dienstag has been swimming ever since.
Despite swimming throughout the majority of his life, Dienstag has additional interests that have shaped his identity. “One of the things that I am starting to get passionate about is learning about stocks and the stock market,” in line with his business and economics majors. To this end, he has also said that he plans on reading more books and watching videos to learn more.
Notably, being a sophomore, Dienstag had to make the transition from high school to college in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. “It was actually nice transitioning from high school to college during the pandemic. High school and college are very different places, and the online classes made it easier to transition. The lack of massive parties also helps to keep you in line.” However, Dienstag did state that “it was a bit difficult to make friends in my classes, but the swim team makes it much easier to make friends.” “When me and my swimmer friends went home during winter break, we would train together and this would get us fired up for swimming,” he further elaborated.
At Nationals in Indianapolis, Dienstag placed 30th in the nation in the 500 yard freestyle, and 19th in the nation for the one mile freestyle. In terms of preference, he says that he “prefers the mile to the 500 yards. I enjoy it much more in a high-competition setting and I’m able to outlast people and perform better as a result. You also do not have to pace yourself as much in the one mile, and it’s more about endurance.”
Going to Nationals, Dienstag thought that he would “initially be intimidated, but [he] was not since [he has] been to club nationals a few summers ago at the same pool and it was a similar environment.” Despite, this, he also said that he “was not too sure what to do in his free time since it was over the course of two days,” but he also mentioned that he was happy that his girlfriend, Ema Rennie ’23, also a swimmer for the Brandeis Judges, was able to join him.
When asked what he attributes to his great success in going to Nationals, Dienstag admitted that it “kind of sucks to be staring at a blank line ahead of you, but I find a way to make it therapeutic and fun, honing in on the single task, putting my head down and putting the work in.” In terms of a practice regiment, he said that he would “swim for long periods of time just to get my endurance up for around an hour or so.”
Dienstag has a promising swimming future ahead of him. Not only did he go to Nationals as a sophomore, but he still has two years of swimming ahead of him during his college career where he can improve and receive even more impressive placements in his events.