Burke Breaks Through For @Towson_SWIMDIVE
Courtesy: Athletics Media Relations  
Release: 06/23/2012

TOWSON, Md. - Kaitlin Burke is no stranger to dealing with high expectations. A junior on the Tiger women’s swimming and diving team, she has flourished under the pressure cooker of competing for a top Towson team throughout her career.

“I need the pressure to perform and I like it,” Burke said. “The success we’ve had is a huge thing to try and live up to, but I think it’s good that Coach (Pat Mead) sets the expectations so high. It shows that he believes in us.”

As a freshman during the 2010-11 season, Burke helped the Tigers to their fourth consecutive Colonial Athletic Association titleand was named the CAA Female Rookie Swimmer of the Year. Burke came back even stronger as a sophomore and became the CAA Champion in the 500-yard freestyle event and 1,650-yard freestyle event, putting the conference on notice that Towson remains a force to be reckoned with. Her time of 16:22.88 in the 1,650-yard event was over 15 seconds faster than the next closest finisher at the conference meet.

“Kaitlin has continued to develop into one our top swimmers,” Mead commented. “She loves to race and has a tremendous competitive spirit.”

Burke became a student of the sport during her freshman season when teammates Kayla Zeller, Brooke Golden and Meredith Budner (all seniors at the time) helped modify Burke’s training habits to improve Burke’s skill-level, something Burke said was much needed.

“I didn’t know I was going to be a distance swimmer,” Burke admitted. “Having the opportunity to swim with Brooke and Meredith and Kayla really took my training to another level. It has completely changed the way I practice. They taught me to push through the pain of practice and that with everything you go through in a season, you can do the impossible.”  

Budner, in particular, gave Burke a fantastic example to model herself after. Along with reclaiming the Tigers’ throne as CAA Champions, Burke knows that approaching Budner (who holds six individual school records) in the pantheon of Towson swimming greats may be a realistic goal as she steps up to become a more visible leader. 

“I definitely feel it’s important to have leadership, especially because we lost at the CAA’s,” Burke said. “Seeing the success Meredith had showed me that you can achieve your goals at Towson. We have a difficult and long season and our training regimen is very intense, but it helps immensely.”

Mead noted the improvements Burke has made since the season ended, yet also understands his team cannot be complacent and must put in the work to achieve success.

"She is realizing that to get to that next level of competition, her training has to go to a different level as well,” Mead said. “Since the CAA’s ended, there has been improvement in all areas of her training.  As she heads into her junior year, the team will need her to be a vocal leader as well as a leader by example.  Those two attributes will help make our team stronger and will help make Kaitlin stronger as well.”

And that’s just the way Burke likes it.



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