The Conestoga senior set a National Interscholastic public high school record Jan. 15 at Garnet Valley in the 200 free (1:48.47), and has qualified for the 2020 Olympic Trials in the 200 butterfly. Last winter, at the PIAA state championships, he successfully defended his state title in the 100 butterfly, led off the Pioneers’ 400 free relay that finished third and shattered the school record, and, in all, earned a pair of individual golds and two more bronze medals in the relays to power Conestoga to a fifth-place finish. He has committed to the University of Indiana. Outside of the pool, Burns participates in the school’s broadcast journalism club, known as Good Morning Stoga.
Q: When you set a National Interscholastic public high school record in the 200 free at Garnet Valley, were you aware at that time that you had set the record? What was the key to your success that day?
A: I was aware. Going into the meet I had planned to break the record and prepared accordingly. I brought a tech suit to the meet, although unusual for a low-key dual meet, and got a good warm-up in. From there it was just sticking to my race plan and the rest was history.
Q: What is your most vivid memory from last year’s States?
A: To pick one is pretty tough – last year’s States was a lot of fun. I’d have to say my favorite memory was immediately after the 100 back in finals where I unexpectedly dropped a best time (at the time) of 46.93. This made me a part of an elite group of Pennsylvania high school backstrokers under 47 seconds in the 100, and to have seen my name next to the likes of David Nolan, Shane Ryan, and Michael Thomas was indescribable.
Q: What is the key to your success in the 200 butterfly?
A: Definitely pacing and holding my underwaters. The key to swimming butterfly well is doing as little of it as possible so the more efficient my stroke is and the longer my underwaters are (I aspire to go 13-14 meters off of every single wall) the faster I go.
Q: What aspect of your swimming have you been working on the most recently?
A: Nothing particularly stands out, mainly because we’re in a yardage-heavy part of the season, but I’m always focusing on making my underwaters better. I can always find new ways to improve them.
Q: Can you walk us through a typical day, or cycle, of training?
A: On a day where we have morning practice, my day starts at 5 a.m. when I wake up. Drive to the pool, swim from 5:30 to 6:30 (sometimes 6:45), drive to school. Eat a good breakfast at school (usually a Wawa Sizzli, preferably sausage, egg, and cheese on French toast or a waffle), valiantly try to stay awake during my classes, then drive home. Practice usually starts with dryland at 3:30, and then we swim at 4:30. Get out at 6:15, go home, eat dinner, do homework, shower, go to bed, repeat.
Q: Who have been your biggest swimming mentors, and what was the most important thing each of them taught you?
A: My parents were and are very influential in my swimming career. Swimmers themselves, they met through the Westport-Weston masters swim team in Westport, Conn. and have been swimming for their entire lives (my mom swam at Radnor Aquatic Club, Suburban Swim Club, and Marple Newtown high school). They introduced me to the sport at a young age and they’ve taught me that swimming is just a sport but it’s also so much more than that at the same time.
Q: Tell us a little about your pre-meet preparation the day of a meet.
A: Nothing really different from any other day- I keep my head down and focus on the task at hand. If it’s a big meet, I get in the “Twilight Zone”, and if not, then I can kind of be myself and have a good time.
Q: What is your favorite academic course at Conestoga? What do you think you might major in at Indiana? Is there a particular career path that interests you at the present time?
A: As of right now my favorite course this year is Writer’s Craft. The teacher and I mesh together well and although I haven’t liked writing in the past, I’ve found that this class has opened up a new creative avenue for my thoughts and feelings and I now have a renewed interest in writing. I am heading into Indiana undeclared for a major but am considering sports marketing and broadcast journalism. If I could have Rowdy Gaines’ job, I would be the happiest person alive.
Q: Tell us a little about your participation in the broadcast journalism club, known as Good Morning Stoga.
A: I absolutely love it, so much so that I am seriously considering broadcast journalism as a major at IU. I wish I discovered my interest in Good Morning Stoga and TV production sooner.
Fun facts – Brendan Burns
Favorite book: The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
Favorite author: Roald Dahl
Favorite TV show: Seinfeld, Rick and Morty, or Friends
Favorite movie: The Godfather, The Dark Knight, or Rocky
Favorite athlete: Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, or Aaron Judge
Favorite pre-meet pump-up song: Millidelphia by Meek Mill ft. Swizzbeats
Favorite team: New York Yankees, New England Patriots, Indiana Hoosiers
Favorite place to visit: Maui – “Really, any and all beaches.”
Favorite pre-meet meal: Pasta with red sauce and sausage/meatballs/chicken, Caesar salad
Family members: parents Eric and Heather, sister Delaney – “All of them are swimmers, Laney is a freshman at ‘Stoga.”
(To be selected as Main Line Boys Athlete of the Week, a student-athlete must first be nominated by his coach.)
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