With dozens of young kids surrounding her at a celebration in her honor, treating her like a star, Olympic swimming hopeful Samantha Woodward did her best to appreciate the scene.


 With dozens of young kids surrounding her at a celebration in her honor, treating her like a star, Olympic swimming hopeful Samantha Woodward did her best to appreciate the scene.
“This isn’t a normal environment for kids to go to, but so many of them did whatever they could to make it,” Woodward said. “I really do just want to go out there and make these kids proud.”
The 17-year-old Woodward, recently graduated from Memorial High School in suburban Edmond, will continue her quest to reach Beijing starting on Sunday, when the U.S. Olympic Trials begin at the Qwest Center in Omaha, Neb.
Woodward will compete in three events in Omaha — the 100-meter butterfly, starting on Sunday; the 100-meter freestyle, starting on Thursday; and the 50-meter freestyle, starting on Saturday.
She’s one of two Oklahomans scheduled to compete in the trials. David Plummer, a former standout at Westmoore High School in Oklahoma City who now swims collegiately for Minnesota, is entered in the 100 backstroke and the 200 backstroke. Plummer finished second to U.S. swimming star Michael Phelps in the 100-meter backstroke earlier this month during a meet in Omaha, held in the same pool that will host the trials.
Woodward is considered one of the nation’s best young female sprinters. She won a silver medal in the 100 butterfly and a gold medal as part of the U.S. 4x100 freestyle relay team last summer in the Pan American Games in Brazil.
She will be seeded sixth in the 100 butterfly in Omaha; the top two in each event qualify for the Olympic team. Should Woodward finish in the top six in the 100 freestyle, she would earn a spot on the U.S. relay team.