NCAA D2 Swimmer of the Year Ben Sampson (Colorado Mesa) Enters NCAA Transfer Portal

Ben Sampson, who was named the CSCAA National Swimmer of the Year for NCAA Division II swimming this season, has entered the NCAA Transfer Portal.

He says that he hasn’t definitely decided to transfer, but entered the portal to “explore (his) options.”

“I love Colorado Mesa and the people here so much so it will take a lot to get me to leave but I wanted to look at schools with good backstroke programs that can push me to the next level,” Sampson said. “I’m not sure exactly what I want yet but I am going to look around. I am so grateful for what Colorado Mesa has given me and I’m excited for the next two years, wherever that will be.”

A junior*, at March’s NCAA D2 Championships, Sampson won the 200 backstroke and 200 IM individually, adding a 3rd place finish in the 400 IM and 4th place finish in the 100 backstroke.

Editor’s note: Colorado Mesa lists Sampson as a redshirt sophomore, but the 2022-2023 season was his 3rd season of college eligibility. CMU has chosen to list swimmers who have the bonus 5th year of eligibility as a “redshirt” with a class, so that their last season will be “redshirt senior” instead of “graduate.” In short: Sampson has 2 seasons of NCAA eligibility remaining.

His 71 individual points led Colorado Mesa University to a 4th-place finish as a team, the best result in program history.

Sampson has a total of 14 CSCAA All-America awards on his register. He has also won 15 RMAC conference titles and 20 All-RMAC Honors, and was named the RMAC Swimmer of the Year in each of the past two seasons.

He was also named a CoSIDA First Team Academic All-American this season, one of a nation-leading four for the Mavericks.

Most of Sampson’s best times came as altitude-converted midseason swmis at the Colorado Mesa Invitational. That meet was swum at 5,000 feet of altitude, allowing an adjustment to his results, though his NCAA Championship times didn’t quite match up.

Best Times Progression (times adjusted for altitude where appropriate):

HS Best 1st year at CMU 2nd year at CMU 3rd year at CMU
50 free 22.06 20.01 20.10 19.89
100 free 47.12 44.53 45.34 44.15
200 free 1:44.16 1:44.75 1:38.46 1:35.58
100 back 52.21 47.92 46.36 46.06
200 back 1:57.36 N/A 1:42.68 1:39.97
200 IM N/A N/A 1:46.41 1:43.76
400 IM N/A N/A N/A 3:45.23

A native of Colorado, Sampson swam at Ralston Valley High School. He was a relative-latecomer to the serious side of the sport, which is demonstrated in his wild progressions above. He didn’t even swim a 400 IM before his junior season at CMU, and still placed 4th at the NCAA D2 Championship meet.

Sampson is a sport management major with a 3.888 GPA.

Entering the NCAA Transfer Portal does not require an athlete to transfer, rather it allows them to communicate with coaches at other schools about the possibility of transferring.

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2 months ago

Happy for this swimmer’s success but would love to see them stay. Andrew Wilson proved it at Emory, you can be successful anywhere there’s water. Mickey is a great coach and has coached at the international level…he can help this swimmer reach any goal.

2 months ago

Mickey Wender is running a great program!

Dressels start
Reply to  Andrew
2 months ago

*insert transfer or drop out rate*

2 months ago

One full year of year round club swimming then serious college training, boom. He always had excellent technique in high school and summer club. So fun to see him excel.

2 months ago

Incredible swimmer. CMU made him great now it’s time for some Olympic dreams so happen. I say ASU!

Alex Wilson
Reply to  Jack
2 months ago

ASU coaching staff and team can certainly help him reach the next level!

2 months ago

Eddie & Wyatt will be salivating over this guy

Reply to  Austinpoolboy
2 months ago

Training group of Casas, Foster, Modglin will be a good group for him to join

2 months ago

As a Colorado Mesa Alum and former teammate of Ben, I hate to see him go but I love to watch him leave! Arizona State or Cal would be a great fit in my opinion!

Demarrit Steenbergen
Reply to  Geo
2 months ago

How do you say “necesito backstroker”?

Reply to  Demarrit Steenbergen
2 months ago

Necisito un nadador en DORSO que sea muy rapido!

Demarrit Steenbergen
2 months ago

I’m gonna assume that is right

2 months ago

46.0 plus a 3.8 = world is your oyster.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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