Northwestern Press

Wednesday, December 11, 2019
Madison Burns at trials for the US Olympic Swim Team. Madison Burns at trials for the US Olympic Swim Team.
Madison Burns on the starting block at US Olympic Team Trials Madison Burns on the starting block at US Olympic Team Trials

Burns swims at Olympic Trials

Thursday, August 9, 2012 by CHUCK HIXSON Special to the Press in Sports

Madison Burns has accomplished a lot of great things in swimming, especially for a girl coming from a high school with no swim team. The Northwestern Lehigh grad, who holds the PIAA record in the 200 individual medley, recently competed at the Olympic Trials in Omaha, finishing 110th.

The event featured the best swimmers from around the country, all fighting for the relatively few spots available on the Olympic Swim Team that competed in London.

For Burns, being on swimming's biggest stage other than the Olympics, was quite an experience.

"I was just excited at first," she said. "Then when I got out there, it started to turn more into nervousness."

Even as good as Burns is, battling nerves made it a little tougher for her to compete, which she took notice to during the race.

"During the race, I started to feel a little tight and then almost felt numb," said the North Carolina recruit. "I think it did affect me, but not to the point where I felt that I swam badly."

Burns went into the trials knowing that the competition would be tough and it turns out that she gauged the competition just about right.

"I knew that there wouldn't be anything easy about going to Omaha and there wasn't," she said. "But it was great to get the experience."

Nerves or not, Burns' achievements have been impressive and earned a scholarship to North Carolina, leaving her looking forward to swimming competitively in college. She won't have much time to adjust to college life before she starts training with her teammates. Shortly after arriving, she'll be taking part in out-of-water workouts before going all out in preparation for the season.

"I'll probably be competing in the breast stroke and IM," Burns said. "At least that's the way it looks right now."

The competition at North Carolina will be tough, but Burns has been looking forward to the challenge for a while now. In fact, the quality of competition was one of the reasons she was drawn to Chapel Hill.

"It's a great program and I'm looking forward to the competitiveness and to being a part of the N.C. team," said Burns earlier this year when she signed her letter of intent to attend North Carolina.

The incoming class of swimming recruits at North Carolina was recently ranked as the ninth best class in the country, giving the Tar Heels a lot of good things to look forward to during the upcoming season.

Even though she didn't qualify for the Olympics, she has enjoyed watching them on television and has no regrets about her quest to make the team.

"I absolutely love watching the swimming," she said. "There's no bittersweet feeling or anything."

Burns, who swims and trains with the Parkland Aquatic Club program, knows that the 2016 Olympics are likely a long shot at this point, but that doesn't mean that she won't give it a shot.

"I'll try again," she said. "But I'm focusing more just on college and making the adjustments there that I'll need to make both in school and with the swim team. That's [the 2016 Olympics] all for down the road."