Sophomore becomes first Rider diver ever to qualify for NCAAs

Sophomore Amanda Burke took second place at the NCAA qualifier to make her the first Bronc to ever qualify for the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships.By Kristie Kahl

A member of the swimming and diving team became the first Bronc diver in school history to qualify for the NCAAs.
Sophomore diver Amanda Burke placed second at the NCAA Zone A Regional in Buffalo, N.Y., to make history at Rider.

“Being the first swimmer or diver to qualify for NCAAs is a huge accomplishment,” Burke said. “People have told me that I did have a chance to go when the season was just beginning, so I worked hard to have NCAAs as a goal to accomplish and being the first athlete to accomplish it feels good. It feels like all the hard work and the long practices paid off.”

On the first day of the Zone A Regional, Burke posted a score of 553.10 while finishing only 46 points out of first place.
Also competing for Rider, senior diver Dylan Korn qualified for the three-meter finals and placed 14th with a score of 510.50. Sophomore diver Paul Apostolakis finished 29th on the three-meter with a preliminary round score of 186.95.

On the second day of competition, Korn placed 25th in the preliminaries of the one-meter with Apostolakis with a score of 167.60. Burke finished fifth on the three-meter board, placing 31st before moving on to the NCAAs.

After accomplishing every goal from her season, Burke found herself making history for the Broncs.

“Being at the NCAAs at first didn’t hit me,” she said. “I didn’t feel like I actually qualified for this meet. I almost felt like I was in a dream because these athletes have been training all their lives for this meet, and it shows with how incredible they perform. Being reminded that the best athletes in the country are at this meet felt weird. I love being a Rider athlete, and it was really awesome to be able to represent Rider University at Ohio State.”

At the NCAA Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships, Burke placed 39th on the one-meter and finished with a score of 222.50 in the six-dive event. Only 40 points separated her from the consolation round of 16.

“I wish I could have done better, but it was a rough meet,” Burke said. “It just made me want to come home and train 10 times harder to get as good as these girls. This year was just a trial run and next year I will know what to expect and hopefully do better.”

After all is said and done, Burke had a successful season on the board. She is a two-time MAAC champion on the one-meter while also winning the three-meter at the MAACs in 2007, earning her Female Diver of the Meet honors. Burke claimed Diver of the Meet honors at the ECAC championships as well, winning both the one-and-three-meter boards.

“Looking at [each of my goals] now and accomplishing them all is very exciting,” Burke said. “I think this is the first time ever that I accomplished all of my goals in a season. I don’t think I could have done it without the help of my coach and teammates. We motivate each other and that’s what makes accomplishing these goals a lot more special. This season was great; I wouldn’t go back to change a thing.”

With just a taste of the NCAAs in her mouth, Burke is all the more motivated to come back with a vengeance for next year.

“In the back of my mind all season I kept thinking about NCAAs and the possibility of qualifying for it, and if I did that, I knew I could do it,” Burke said. “I have a lot of training to do for next year, and it has to start now.”

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