Jess Burkhart sunk much of her competition March 17, as she came in eighth place at the state level swimming competition.
It was her first state medal.
“I am very proud of her,” said Burkhart’s coach, Cece O’Day. ” There hadn’t been a female state champion for swimming in 16 years. This was amazing.”
Burkhart achieved a personal best time of 24:05 during the 50-meter freestyle, bettering her time by just one crucial second.
“At that (state) meet I was competing against 32 people,” Burkhart said, “but there were levels [to the competition] so it was like I was competing against the whole state.”
And Burkhart has learned that to be good, a swimmer needs to put in the miles.
“[Swimming] takes up all your time. I practice twice a day because I’m a part of the school team and a YMCA club team,” Burkhart said, “and I have about three meets a week. It doesn’t leave much time for anything else.”
However, all this swimming glory comes with a price.
“Practices are really tough,” said Burkhart, “and having practice all the time is really tiring.”
Because of her medal performance at states, Burkhart gets the chance to do a little traveling.
April 5 – 10, Burkhart will be swimming at the national competition held in Florida for the YMCA club team on which she swims.
At the competition, Burkhart will be competing in the 50 and 100-meter freestyle events.
But Burkhart isn’t just interested in the awards.
“I was 6 when I started swimming,” she said. “I guess I’m just naturally talented. I do it for fun, really.”
By Lindsey Ostrum