This is the fifth of a season-long series that will feature updates on WVU swimming and diving alumni, as well as getting to know members of the current team.
Following one of the most successful seasons in recent history for the women’s swimming program, senior Eva Burlingham
is ready for the team’s second season in the Big 12 Conference as one of only two seniors on the team.
“I do feel like a leader, there’s only two seniors on the team, so the junior class has a lot of influence,” said Burlingham. “I think that the freshmen can come to me with anything because I’m pretty open.”
The Stafford, Va., native finished strong last season at her first Big 12 Championships, placing sixth in the 100 fly (54.00), 10th in the 50 free (23.40) and 13th in the 100 free (51.55). She was also part of relay teams that took second in both the 200 medley (1:39.50) and 200 free (1:32.41) relays, and third in the 400 free relay (3:21.36).
“The competition is definitely a lot harder, on the girl’s side especially,” said Burlingham. “I think we handled it well last year because the team was really strong. This year we have to be mentally prepared for it.”
In her final season as a Mountaineer, Burlingham has focused more on aerobic yards, in order to prepare better for her sprint races.
“I think compared to last year, I need to do more aerobic yards,” said Burlingham. “Even with the 100 free, it’s a sprint but you don’t want to be exhausted at the end. You want to be able to finish it. I have been doing more middle-distance practices to better my aerobic ability.”
After the graduation of All-America swimmers Rachael Burnett and Mandie Nugent last year, Burlingham believes that even though the team might not be as experienced as it was last year, they can still have a successful season.
“It’s hard (losing Burnett and Nugent), our team is a lot smaller this year than it was last year, with losing them it definitely takes a hit with the girl’s team,” said Burlingham. “I think we do have the strength though to have a good season this year, even if it doesn’t mean winning dual meets as much, we have an opportunity to grow as a team.”
Outside of the pool, Burlingham has used her experiences in her classwork to better prepare for her senior year.
“I’m a sport and exercise psychology major, so all of those classes I enjoy because everything I learn in them I can bring in the pool.”
The Mountaineers begin their season Saturday, Oct. 5 with the Gold-Blue intrasquad meet, before hosting the West Virginia State Games next week from Oct. 11-12.Previous FeaturesRonald GainsfordTami (Weber) SchmidtBill TreasurerJake Querciagrossa