of this while maintaining a 3.5 GPA in what is arguably the hardest and most demanding major on campus. It is very rare to see a student with this much innate ability, focus, passion and drive. “I believe Timothy has all the right qualities to be a great research scientist or engineer and I am confident that he will emerge as a leader in his chosen field. One of the greatest qualities about Timothy is that he always makes maximum use of all the opportunities presented to him.” On top of his academic pursuits, Samec has also been the president of SRU’s Physics and Engineering Club (Fall 2013 – Fall 2016); a FYRST seminar peer leader (Fall 2013, Fall 2016); and the co-director of the Western Pennsylvania Special Olympics Event Management Team (Fall 2012 – Spring 2014). Samec was also recently named the Slippery Rock Outstanding Senior Man by the SRU Alumni Association. Not bad for someone who didn’t even intend on coming to SRU out of high school. “Slippery Rock has been much more than I expected,” Samec said. “I’m thankful for everything that’s come my way. I’m doing what I’m doing now because I was put here. There’s things in this world we can’t control. I’m not a real religious person by any means, but I do believe in God and that he has a path for me. I was put in this department for a
reason, I’ve met the faculty I have for a reason.” The story of Timmy Samec, the academic superstar, cannot be told without looking at Timmy Samec, the athlete. While Slippery Rock’s highly acclaimed physics department helped quench Samec’s thirst for knowledge, he had to look outside of The Rock to keep his athletic dreams alive. With his wrestling career dead, Samec has channeled his energy to competing in triathlons, multi-stage competitions
34 The ROCK
lippery Rock has been much S more than I expected. I’m thankful for everything that’s come my way.
consisting of three consecutive events swimming, bicycling and distance running. Samec’s immersion into the world of triathlons started gradually. He originally took up cycling during the summer prior to his senior year in high school to stay in shape for wrestling. That same summer his girlfriend, Shaina Grego, convinced him to take up swimming at his local YMCA. From there, the couple, along with their swim instructor, Rob Gould, competed in a relay with Grego swimming, Samec serving as the cyclist and Gould doing the running.
“It wasn’t pretty at first, but after that I was bitten by the bug and I’ve now been racing for seven years,” Samec said. Since diving into the world of triathlons, Samec, the president and founder of the Triathlon Club at SRU, has established himself on a global level for team USA in International Triathlon Union sponsored events. “I’m a two-time national team member for the sprint distance U.S. triathlon team,” Samec said. “I’ve competed at the world championships both last year and in 2015. I’ve taken what wrestling was for me and have now transferred it into triathlons.” Training for triathlons is constant and time-consuming. Samec estimates that he dedicates close to 25 hours per week in training. In comparison, NCAA athletes are only allowed to practice 20 hours per week during their seasons. However, it doesn’t take long to see that Samec, who plans to get his pro ironman license within the next three years, needs this time to not only fill the void that was left by the end of his wrestling career, but also as a break from the academic rigors that come with being just the second person in Slippery Rock history to have a concentration in computational biophysics.