By MIKE MARSEE
12:13 PM EST, January 29, 2013
They are no strangers to competitive swimming, but Connor and Sarah Burns find themselves at a new level of competition this winter. And they’re finding it very much to their liking.
After years of swimming with club and recreation teams, both siblings have joined the team at Boyle County for the first time. While both swimmers said high school swimming is different from what they’re used to, they said it’s a good kind of different.
“For one thing, it’s more enjoyable because you have a lot of people from school,” Connor Burns said. “I really like the social aspect of it, because you get a lot of team bonding along with it. You build some good relationships.”
Sarah Burns said she likes swimming more difficult events against tougher competition.
“I think it’s just taking another step up,” she said. “Going from club when I was young and rec to high school is a little bit different, but you do harder events, which really helps you out a lot.”
Both freshman Connor and seventh-grader Sarah said they began competitive swimming at about age 5 or 6, and both are excited about the idea of testing themselves against good swimmers whom they haven’t faced before because they aren’t in the same age group.
“You’re swimming against seniors. It’s a lot tougher competition,” Connor Burns said.
Sarah Burns said she has faced swimmers in grades six through 12, and she said she has improved as a result.
“I think it’s just part of knowing that you can do something yourself and working toward your goals,” she said.
She is also active in soccer and dance, but she said she likes the way swimming forces her to push herself.
“It kind of pushes you to know your limits, and you get a lot more out of it,” Sarah Burns said. “You get more conditioning out of it and muscle strength, and that helps you between sports seasons, too.”
Connor Burns plays soccer for Boyle and plays rec-league basketball, and he plans to join the Boyle track and field team this year. But he said there’s something different about swimming.
“I like the challenge aspect of it. I think it’s a great sport,” he said.
Connor Burns has returned to the pool after stepping away from swimming for two years.
“I just kind of took a break, and then (Boyle teammates) Jack (Crawford) and Connor Frey, they just talked to me a lot at school and got me to join, and I loved it,” he said.
He said his best events are freestyle and backstroke races, though that wasn’t always the case.
“Before I was awful at backstroke, but this year I came back and I loved it,” he said.
Sarah Burns said she is best in the butterfly or breaststroke.
Both siblings said they would like to reach the state meet in their first season, and they’ll get their chance next week when Boyle competes in its regional meet at Russell Springs.
Connor Burns is part of a strong team in the 400-yard freestyle relay that he said has a good chance to qualify for state.
“That’s what’s been driving me the past few months,” he said.
Sarah Burns said the Boyle girls are a threat to make state in several events.
“I feel like we’ll do pretty well with our relays and individual events,” she said.
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