Samantha Arevalo grew up in Macas, Eduador. With the dense rainforest and the Upano River close by, Arevalo’s parents decided she should learn to swim. At age four her parents took her to the pool in her small city to learn, but she also took to swimming in the river. Arevalo quickley developed in to a distance swimmer and began to gain attention at the national level. In 2010 she was named Swimmer of the Year by the Ecuador Swimming Federation and in 2015 she was named the Ecuadorian Swimmer of the Year by the National Olympic Commitee of Ecuador.
In 2016 she will become the first female athlete of her country to swim in the open water event in the Olympics.
2012 Olympic Games
In her first Olympic games, Arevalo competed in the 800 meter freestyle. She finished 29th in the heats.
Switching to Open Water
Open water was a natural choice for Arevalo who grew up swimming in the Upano River. But the sport was relatively unknown in the country. Her switch to open water happened when she moved to Cuenca in 2013. Her first international experience in the event came the same year in Argentina at a leg of the FINA 10k Marathon World Cup.
2015 FINA World Championships
With the top ten finishers in the 10k gaining automatic qualification in the Olympic Games, Arevalo hit a set back in her Rio preparations when she finished 12th. But not to be deterred, there was another meet for her to qualify the following June in Portugal. She managed to punch her ticket to Rio with a bronze medal.