Get To Know The University of Alabama's Kaylin Burchell

by Josh Huger (MrUtopia)

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Created December 2nd, 2011 05:50:39 AM

Modified December 2nd, 2011 05:50:39 AM

The University of Alabama’s Kaylin Burchell is this week’s featured swimmer. Kaylin, who is currently a freshman with the Crimson Tide, has enjoyed a smooth and successful transition into the world of college swimming.

Her successes throughout her career include two SEC Female Freshman of the Week awards, an Australian Open record in the 50-meter breaststroke, a USS National Age Group Record in the 50br, one Kentucky State record in the 100 breaststroke, a silver medal in the100br at the 2009 USA Junior National Championships, and multiple Olympic Trial Cuts.

In this SwimUtopia interview Kaylin tells us about what the biggest challenge has been for her thus far in the jump from High School/YMCA swimming to College swimming and what the Alabama coaching staff does to help set her up for success.

Let’s get started!

What made you choose The University of Alabama?

When I took my recruiting trip to Alabama I knew immediately that that’s where I wanted to go to school. I connected really well with the coaches and the team, and knew that I wanted to be in the SEC. It wasn’t a tough decision for me because Alabama offered everything and more in not only a swim program, but school as well.

What other schools did you look at during your recruiting process?

Virginia, Virginia Tech, Tennessee, LSU, and Louisville.

You were recently named the SEC Female Freshman of the Week for the second time this season. What does that do to your confidence as you progress further into your freshman season?

It has without a doubt helped my confidence, but it has proven that I picked the right school and program for me. I’m very honored to have received SEC Female Freshman of the Week, but I also realize that I have to keep working even harder in a conference as fast as the SEC.

What is it like training with everyone at UA?

I have never enjoyed swimming more than I have now. Being a part of this team is incredible, and I can honestly say it’s like being a part of a family. No matter how hard the practices get, we continue to push each other and encourage each other to get through it. This level of training is a new experience for me, this is by far the hardest I have ever trained, and being on such a supportive team makes things a lot easier.

What has been the biggest challenge for you so far in the jump from High School/YMCA swimming to College swimming?

Definitely the training! When practices started, the coaches were telling us to do 25’s and 50’s underwater, which I had never done before. And let’s just say I still feel like I’m going to pass out every time we do them! The dryland and weights are harder than anything I’ve done in my life, not to mention how intense and loud some of the strength coaches are. If you ever walk into Alabama’s weight room you will hear Coach Cochran screaming “Ay yi yi yi yi!” Oh yeah, don’t wear make- up to the weight room or tell Coach Jones no!  

What does the Alabama coaching staff do to help set you up for success?

I couldn’t ask for a better coaching staff than the one that Alabama offers. The coaches are always pushing and motivating myself and the team to be the best that we can be every day and every time we’re in the water.

What is your most memorable moment so far with the team?

Our travel trips to swim meets!

What would you say your biggest accomplishment has been in swimming so far?

I think that my biggest accomplishment other than making the 2008 Olympic Trials, is the impact I have made on other swimmers. In high school I used to volunteer at our local Special Olympics. There was a girl around the same age as me who was entered in 100 fly. No one else was signed up for that event, and she was trying to get her Olympic cut. In order for her to get the cut, someone else had to be entered in the race. My coach asked me to help her out and swim with her. I knew going into the race that it was to help her win the race, so I made sure of that. By the end of the race when she had won and got her cut, her only concern was if I got a medal and got to stand on the podium with her.

What are your top times?

100 Breast: 1:01.31
200 Breast: 2:12.92
200 IM:     2:01.61

What would you say motivates you?

When it comes to swimming I’m a very competitive person, so it really doesn’t take a whole lot for me to get pumped up. I don’t like to lose, so I will do whatever I can to try and win.

What are some things that people may not know about you?

I love to sleep, hate feet, I go by my middle name not my first name, I hate my first name, I love country music, I don’t like being outside for long periods of time, I don’t like getting wet(yeah I know I’m a swimmer), I love any and every dog. I love waffles, or just eating for that matter.

What is your favorite pump-up band or artist to listen to before racing?


Do you have any pre-meet rituals?

Oh yes. I take the same towels and same clothes to every single swim meet. I have prelims and finals towels and clothes. When I listen to my iPod before a race there are two songs that I listen to, and I will not listen to any other two. I eat a waffle every morning before a swim meet, and I always do the same stretches in the same order behind the blocks.

What records do you hold?

National: 9-10 Age group record in the 50 yard and meter breast. And an Australian National Age Group Record in the 50 meter breast.

High School: I hold the Kentucky State High School 100 breast record.

What is your favorite food?


Who has been the most influential person in your life?

I’ve been lucky enough to have several influential people in my life. My parents obviously, and my club coach Tim Cahill. Without them and their support, the achievements I’ve made wouldn’t have been possible.

What would you say is the hardest practice that you have ever done?

There are so many. But there was one practice I had to do 20x400 IM’s and that practice was hands down the hardest. Not only was it hard physically, but mentally too.

At what point in your life did you know that you wanted to take swimming to the next level?

I’ve always known that I wanted to take swimming as far as I possibly could. However, I think the first time I realized that I had a shot at being really good is when I broke my first National Record when I was 10. That’s when my motivation and determination really took place.