By Kristie Kahl
After years of accomplishments, a Rider diver may have the opportunity to move on to a higher level of competition — the Olympics.
Senior national-qualifying diver Amanda Burke has broken numerous records, claimed multiple awards and after graduation, she will be moving to Indianapolis to train at the National Training Center. For the three months following graduation, Burke will be training to compete internationally for the USA in the World Cup meets and the Fédération Internationale de Natation series meets.
“They train 44 hours a week,” Burke said. “It’s the only team in the country that trains full time. The coach there (John Wingfield) and [Diving Coach Dennis Ceppa] are good friends and they have the same philosophy with coaching. Dennis asked John if he could take me so I can get the hours of training I need to get better even faster. So after graduation I’m going to live there for the summer for a three-month trial to see if I like it. If I do I’m going to stay there ’til the 2012 Olympics.”
Leading up to this big accomplishment, Burke has gone above and beyond in her competitions here at Rider. In the 2009-2010 regular season alone, Burke brought home a first place win in the one- and three-meter dives in all nine meets.
In the 2010 Diving Invitational, Burke placed fifth in the one-meter out of 46 divers, while claiming 15th place in the three-meter.
Burke has made three trips to the NCAA Championships in her time competing at Rider. At the Championships, Burke took 17th place in the preliminary round for the one-meter, missing out on advancing to the finals by only 4.20 points. She missed her first dive and battled all the way back from last place to just miss one of the top 16 spots.
Over the past few years, Burke has broken multiple MAAC, Rider, Loyola Pool and Coppola Pool records. She has been named Athlete of the Month on multiple occasions while also claiming MAAC Diver of the Meet and Week honors. She has been named Rider Female Athlete of the Year for the past two years, and it would not be a surprise if she three-peated this year.
“Amanda began to excel almost immediately on the boards and in physical training, never stopping to look back,” Ceppa said. “Amanda sacrificed her own time, money and social life to become the athlete she is today. I can’t think of another person in my coaching experience so far that has been so willing and accepting of the dedication and sacrifice it takes to become an elite diver. Amanda has gone above and beyond and made the absolute most out, and then some, of her career here at Rider.”
With much dedication and true talent, Burke has become a force to be reckoned with.
In two years, the Rider community may get to watch one of its own compete in the 2012 Summer Olympics.
“I just hope that when Amanda makes it to the Games I can afford to go and sit in the stands to watch her rip it up in front of the entire world,” said Ceppa.