Rider Grad Burke Selected to the Olympic Performance Squad
We all knew that Rider University graduate Amanda Burke '10 is one of the top divers in the United States, but now it is official.
Twenty-six divers have been selected to the Olympic Performance Squad for 2013 and Amanda Burke is one of them.
"I am so excited," said Burke, who took part in the Olympic Trials last summer, "I almost cried when I found out. It says they expect me to be a contender for the next Olympics."
The Olympic Performance Squad includes the divers who exhibit the skill and determination it takes to become 2016 Olympic Team members and compete in the Olympic Games. An annual review of the Olympic Performance Squad is conducted at the end of each year.
"They select divers who they expect to be the best in the country over the next few years, leading up to the 2016 Olympics," Burke said. "I had to sign a contact saying I would stick with it for the next four years, since the USOC will be supporting me through this process. I'll be competing in national and international meets."
The OPS squad members were selected based on those divers who competed for the U.S. at the highest level during the past two years or who have been deemed as synchronized specialists by the High Performance Director.
"They hold training camps for us with nutritionists, psychologists, fitness professionals who can advise us," Burke said.
Burke currently trains in Virginia with former Rider diving coach Dennis Ceppa at the Mason Diving Academy. "I will continue to train in Virginia," Burke said, "and when I attend championship events they will hold meetings there to discuss what other countries are doing, different techniques, routines we are doing, to help us be at the top of our game."
In June Burke and her partner, Summer Allman, placed third in the finals of the 3-meter Synchronized Springboard dive at the US Olympic Team Trials. "Summer retired to have a baby," Burke said. "So if I do go back into synchro it will be with a new partner."
Burke, the three-time Rider female Athlete of the Year, and Allman compiled 806.10 points to move up to third place. They were fourth after the preliminary round and fifth after the semifinals.
Kelci Bryant and Abby Johnston won the event with 956.40 points, barely defeating Kassidy Cook and Christina Loukas, who compiled 955.98 points. Bryant and Johnston went on to win the Olympic silver medal.
Burke is from Richboro, PA and is a 2005 graduate of William Tennent High School. As a senior at Rider Burke was the Eastern College Athletic Conference Champion and the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference 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.
Burke owns all five Rider team diving records and all four Rider Pool diving records, as well as both MAAC diving records.
In August, 2011 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 2011 AT&T National Championships, but that is not an Olympic event. "I'll still be diving the one-meter," Burke said, "as an extra event. It is good practice competing and it is less stressful."
Competing in the Olympics is the ultimate dream for many divers. The Olympic Performance Squad includes divers who exhibit the skill and determination it takes to become Olympic Team members and compete in the Olympic Games. They're trained by some of the best coaches in the country and have access to some of the best specialists in the nation.
An annual review of the Olympic Performance Squad is conducted at the end of each year, during which divers are evaluated on their overall competition performance and their dedication to their daily training. Currently, there are 26 divers on the Olympic Performance Squad striving to become 2016 Olympic Team members.
And Rider's Amanda Burke is one of them. We all knew that, but now it is official.