Feb 21, 2014, 2:57 PM EDT
As the league’s swimming and diving championships creep closer and closer — starting in just under one week — the CAA decided to catch up with a couple of standout women’s swimming upperclassmen, Towson’s Kaitlin Burke and William & Mary’s Megan Howard. We took a look back at the season and what’s to come in College Park, Md. next week.
Today, let’s kick off the Q/A feature with senior Tiger Kaitlin Burke, who’s no stranger to the spotlight at the CAA Championships, coming off a junior campaign in 2013 which saw her earn Co-Most Outstanding Women’s Swimmer of the Championship meet en route to winning CAA Women’s Swimmer of the Year. This season, Burke won the league’s weekly swimming honor five times and enters the championships primed for another solid performance.
CAA: Thanks for joining us today, Kaitlin. We’d love to get your take or feel for the season in general, especially leading up to the CAA Championships. … You’ve had an outstanding year, winning weekly honors five teams. Please touch upon some of that success. What have been the keys?
KB: This season was a little bit different. I was able to not always have to just swim my main events, I was able to do a couple little different things. I got to sprint more this season it seems like. Our season in general, the meet schedule wasn’t as intense as it has been the past three years. As a women’s team, we just had to stay a little bit more focused and just swim fast on our own.
CAA: How have your teammates responding to your individual success? Anyone give you a hard time/joke around that you kept winning the weekly award?
KB: Not really, no … haha. They are extremely supportive; we have a lot of fun and joke around so no, none of them have ever been upset or awkward about it.
CAA: Talk about some things or methods you worked on in the offseason.
KB: I had a really successful long course season, which is a little bit different for me because I don’t like long course. I didn’t want to do it. Me and coach Pat (Towson coach Pat Mead) kind of changed a few things and changed my focus a little bit. I think being that successful at the level, at U.S. Opens, it definitely made me super excited for the season. And, it was nice and calming starting the fall just super refreshed and ready to go.
CAA: They say it’s ‘you versus the clock’ in the sport of swimming. Are you looking forward to showing off your talents versus some of the top CAA women’s swimmers in the championships?
KB: The CAA’s are always the most exciting part of the year. I don’t know how anyone couldn’t be excited or think that it’s not important. This is what you work for all year. So definitely being able to go there and show everybody all the work you’ve done and, especially since this is my last year and I just want to throw it all down and show people what I can do. When I see other people swim fast, it makes me want to swim faster. Having it on a larger scale, seeing my teammates the most swim fast is what motivates me.
CAA: Some events you are looking forward to competing in at the championships?
KB: I’m actually not really sure which events I’m swimming now. When I was at nationals, I swam well in my mile so we had a few strategy things going on, but I usually swim best when I can clear my head, relax and try not to over-think things too much.
CAA: Are there any songs in particular you like to listen to or music genres you prefer?
KB: Definitely Beyoncé, Rihanna, Katy Perry …
CAA: Definitely a little pop, little hip-hop feel?
KB: Oh yeah.
CAA: It seems like, especially over the last couple of years, that the attitude around Towson and athletics is starting to change for the better. … The new feel or atmosphere at Towson, is that something that you’ve been able to notice?
KB: It’s crazy. I can remember my freshmen year everyone just considering our football team just a joke. Those boys have now done super crazy things, going to a national championship this year, it’s so exciting and cool. Just knowing them on a personal level, it’s cool to see because they’ve worked so hard. Both of our lacrosse teams have won CAA’s I think in the last year, and basketball is really trying to turn around. It’s great for our university in the CAA, just doing what they’re doing. A lot of people just consider us a small — well, not that small — university, a mid-major program and I think that all the athletics teams are really starting to make a name for themselves and just stepping up to show people that we can’t be counted out. There’s a lot of really talented kids that go here.
CAA: Preparation for the championships … how’s that been going?
KB: It’s exciting. Taper time is always a little bit up and down. You have some really good days when you’re swimming super fast and some really not-so-fast days when the water just feels a little thick, you feel a little lethargic or whatever. The girls have been swimming really well at practice. Everyone is just really focused for this next two weeks and doing everything they need to be doing.
CAA: Well, can’t say thanks enough for taking some time to speak with us, we’ll see you at the CAA Championships.
KB: Thanks for having me.
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