September 22nd, 2010

Burckle Siblings Find Swimming Success

Sarah Newell

CSN Staff Writer

Burckle Siblings Find Swimming Success
photo courtesy of the Burckle Family

Caroline, Clark help each other in and out of the pool

"The morning of Clark's 200 breaststroke, I was so nervous. I have never been so nervous in my life before finals. I was more nervous than even when I race. When Clark touched the wall (to win the championship), I just was jumping up and down and ecstatic. Shaking!”

Caroline Burckle, who has been cheering for her brother, Clark, since he started swimming at age six, shared this reaction when asked about watching her brother compete at the 2010 NCAA Championships. It was one of the most exciting races she had ever seen. 

“It wasn’t necessarily the win that mattered,” said Caroline. “But the entire journey watching him go through to get there.”

Clark also got used to cheering on his talented older sister. Caroline started swimming at age six, and for as long as he can remember, Clark looked up to his accomplished sister in and out of the pool. 

“She’s an incredible role model because she has rock-solid morals,” said Clark. “She let me know that only I judge whether or not I am successful and to not pay attention to anyone else’s opinions about you.”

When Caroline won a bronze medal for the United States in the 800 Freestyle Relay at the 2008 Olympic Games, Clark watched Caroline with the same enthusiasm and excitement she had for him.

Caroline and Clark attended Sacred Heart Model School, and then went onto Sacred Heart Academy and St. Xavier High School, respectively. They both agree that the faith background and education taught them how to lean on God and dedicate their lives to their dreams.

Clark said: “Faith is crucial. I have faith in God to just help me have fun, I thank him for the presence of my family and friends, and mostly just for the ability to compete at such a high level. Things could be way different; I have been blessed and I try to never forget that.”

Both Caroline and Clark enjoyed the team aspect of high school sports and carried on the importance of teamwork to Colleges University of Florida and University of Arizona.  

Caroline, who currently resides in Los Angeles, Ca. and attends Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandise while balancing her swim schedule, said she loved the traditions that the schools implemented at the swim meets.

“In high school, we would pray before each competition. In college, we would do a team meeting before each meet and sing our Alma Mater after the conclusion of each meet.”

Caroline and Clark both captured numerous Kentucky State records and high school state records in their young careers. And their success continued right on into college. Just this year, BlueSeventy signed Caroline Burckle on for sponsorship, and Clark was named to the 2010-2011 U.S. National Team in the 200 Long Course Meter Breaststroke. How did these siblings reach such great heights in swimming? Clark shared his insight on tips for success.

“I would keep it simple and tell others to love what they do. In the end, sport is just an extension of the type of person you are, and how you conduct yourself during competition can really show a lot about you. Never get to the point where you don’t use your talent to the fullest of your capabilities, and this can’t be done unless you love what you do.”

Caroline and Clark come from a family line of athletics. Chris Burckle, Caroline and Clark’s father, swam for Lakeside Seahawks Swim Team, Trinity High School and The University of Louisville. He currently owns and operates The Louisville Tennis Club and Blairwood Tennis, Swim & Fitness clubs in Louisville, KY.

Jill Burckle, Caroline and Clark’s mother was a junior tennis player in Northern California. She played Division I tennis at Indiana University. Jill currently oversees a SwimAmerica Swim lesson program at Blairwood. Collin Burckle, Caroline and Clark’s younger brother, currently swims for Lakeside Swim Club and participates in other sports as well. He attends Sacred Heart Model School.

The siblings added that they wish Collin happiness in whatever sports and activities he chooses to participate. They know Collin is growing up with a strong foundation of faith that will carry on for him throughout his life, just as it has for them.

“I learned a lot about faith and believing in yourself (in Catholic School),” said Caroline. “I think that it taught me to always trust God in the hardest times. When things are not going your way, it is happening for a reason, or God is trying to tell you something or teach you something. When I struggled the most in my career is when my relationship with God was not as strong as it should have been. Once I found that again, I started to slowly succeed again.”


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