Rider Grad in Olympic Trial Finals Tonight
FEDERAL WAY, WASHINGTON--Since graduating from Rider University, Amanda Burke '10 has spent the last two years focused on one goal, to qualify for the Games of the XXX Olympiad.
The three-time Rider Athlete of the Year will look to fulfill that goal tonight in the finals of the synchronized 3m springboard at the U.S. Olympic Trials, held at the Weyerhaeuer King County Aquatic Center.
In the synchronized Burke placed fourth in the prelims and fifth in the semis to advance to finals. In the 3m Wednesday she placed 12th to advance but placed 15th in the semifinals and did not advance.
Last August, Burke qualified for the Olympic Trials in two events, by placing second in three-meter synchronized dive and sixth in the three-meter dive at the U. S. National Diving Championships, held at UCLA.
She also won the one-meter dive at the AT&T National Championships last summer, but that is not an Olympic event.
"That was a real confidence boost for me," said the 4'11" Burke, a Richboro, PA native (William Tennent High) who returned to Rider's Coppola Pool this past winter to cheer on her alma mater.
"Her teammates at Rider, the swimming & diving alumni and the swimming & diving coaching staff are very proud of Amanda and her accomplishments," said Rider head coach Steve Fletcher. "We all have tremendous respect for the sacrifices she continues to make in pursuit of her ultimate goal of representing the US at the 2012 Olympic Games."
Since graduation Burke has been training at the USA Diving National Training Center in Indianapolis. "I keep telling myself it is the same people (at the Olympic trials) I've been seeing at competitions over the past few years, so it's nobody new," Burke said. "A lot of people who have been there before told me it's a lot of fun. There is going to be a lot more people at the trials than they typically have, but that's good because it will be more like the actual Olympic meet."
As a Bronc Burke was the first Rider diver to ever qualify for NCAA Nationals and did so three times. "That was one of my highlights while at Rider," Burke said, "qualifying for NCAAs for the first time. But I think winning the MAAC Title was by fondest memory."
As a senior Burke was the Eastern College Athletic Conference Champion and the MAAC Champion in both the one-meter and the three-meter dives, earning Diver of the Year honors at both championships while leading Rider to the MAAC Title for the first time since 2003.
"Winning the MAAC Championships (as a junior) was the biggest thing," Burke remembered. "It was a huge accomplishment for the team."
Burke owns all five Rider team diving records and all four Rider Pool diving records, as well as both MAAC diving records.
This week Burke will compete for the chance to become Rider's first Olympian. "I've never been out of the country," Burke said, "but I'm hoping to use my passport in London. I'll need to finish in the top two but it is anybody's game. We are all very close. If I dive well and make it to the finals, I'll be very happy."
So will a lot of people in Lawrenceville, as well as Lower Bucks County.