Leesburg, VA (November 7, 2016) – Heritage senior Michael Burris has commit to swim for the University of Alabama beginning the 2017/2018 academic school year.
“I felt very relived after making my decision,” said Burris. “Just knowing that all the hard work I put into swimming has paid off is one of the most memorable moments of my life.”
The University of Alabama is a public research university located in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Founded in 1820, as one of the first public universities established in the early 19th century southwestern frontier of the United States, the University of Alabama has left a vast cultural imprint on the state, region and nation over the past two centuries. The school was a center of activity during the American Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement, and has consistently been ranked as one of the top 50 public universities in the nation by the U.S. News & World report. Academically, UA offers more than 80 undergraduate degree programs through 12 colleges and schools, and over 150 masters, education specialist, and doctoral degree programs.
“The recruiting process itself was quite stressful,” shared Burris. “Narrowing down the school selection to five was definitely difficult and time consuming. However, both my unofficial visits throughout my junior year, and my officials in the early weeks of my senior year, provided an eye opening experience to my options.”
“I selected Alabama because of its academics, specifically its business school, which I could get into right away. I also liked their swim program. I wanted to compete for a top 10 team in the NCAA, and Alabama has risen from 26th four years ago to 6th last year. I felt Alabama was a good fit, and felt confident in making it my home for the next four years.”
Burris will be training with the breaststroke and IM under head coach Dennis Pursley. Dennis Pursley has experienced an extraordinary career in the sport of swimming, a career that led him to be named one of the 25 most influential people in the history of USA Swimming in 2003. With a career that has taken him all over the globe – including stops as the first head coach of the Australian Institute of Sport, the inaugural director of the United States National Team, and most recently the head coach of Great Britain’s 2012 Olympic squad – Pursley is a proven program builder who has made an immediate and significant impact on every team he has touched.
It didn’t take Pursley long to work his magic during his current stint with the Crimson Tide. In the 2014-15 academic year, just his second back in Tuscaloosa, he led Alabama to a record-shattering season that saw the men’s and women’s teams break a combined 21 school records including 19 of 36 swimming records. Both the men and the women made significant moves up the rankings at both the Southeastern Conference and NCAA Championships. After moving up six spots at the SEC Championships and 16 spots at the NCAA Championships, the Tide men were named the “Break-Out Team” of the year by the College Swimming & Diving Honors program.
“My expectations going into my first year are to score in the SEC conference meets and make an impact in the medley relays,” shared Burris. “Alabama is the NCAA champion in the 200-medley relay, and their top breaststroker will be a graduate when I get on campus. I hope to take over that spot and become Alabama’s best breastroker.”
Burris, the 2016 VHSL 4A 200m individual medley and 100m breaststroke state champion and record holder, 2-time USA Swimming All-American, and 3-time All-Loudoun Swim Team selection has swam competitively since the age of 11. When asked about one of his fondest memories in the pool he shared, “Winning both the 200 IM and 100 breaststroke and setting the state record in both during the 2016 state championships was my most fond swimming memory. Breaking the 200 IM was something more emotional for me. The reigning record was held by my good friend and teammate, John Paul Popovich, who passed away last winter. It will always be a special moment in my heart.”
“I am thankful for God, my family, teammates, and coaches for helping me along the way. Without them, none of this would have been possible. God has blessed me with a special talent, and I won’t take it for granted. My family, friends, and coaches have supported me throughout the years and I couldn’t be more thankful to enjoy this incredible journey with them.”
When asked what advice he’d share with other pursuing their dream, Burris shared, “Never lose focus on the bigger picture. If you want to be the best at what you do, remember that it takes much sacrifice and time.”
Please join us in wishing Michael Burris the very best in the pool, and in the classroom as he pursues a degree in Business Information Technology from the University of Alabama.