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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Athletes of the week: Cory Chitwood and Clark Burckle

Editor’s Note: Senior swimmer Clark Burckle and sophomore Cory Chitwood both won individual national championships on Sunday at the NCAA Championships. The Arizona Daily Wildcat caught up with Burckle and Chitwood to discuss being national champions, dealing with the norovirus and who is better with the ladies.

Daily Wildcat: I’m sure it’s a question that you have heard a lot, but how does it feel to be a national champion?

Cory Chitwood: You always make me go first. I still can’t really describe it; I don’t think it has fully set in. I don’t know maybe it will kick in when we come back in 10 years or something and our names are up on that board.

Clark Burckle: I just think it’s an exciting feeling because it’s something that now no one can take away from either of us, and it’s something for the rest of my life that I’ll remember — going out with a bang.

Since both of you guys came down with the norovirus last week, explain what it was like going through that while also trying to do what you did in winning a national championship.

CC: When we first got there, there were a lot of negative thoughts popping into my mind, but as soon I got into that bed you couldn’t think negative anymore.

CB: I just turned on my TV and watched some SportsCenter and told myself whatever is going to happen is going to happen. Once I found out all of these guys were coming in it made me feel a little bit better because I didn’t feel as alone.

CC: I texted him as soon as we got in and I was like ‘You in here bro?’ So just got through it together and it didn’t hurt us. It just made it that much sweeter.

Was there any point where you thought you wouldn’t swim or would you not let that enter your mind?

CB: I definitely did. When I was first in there I didn’t know what was going on and how serious it was. I didn’t know that they were going to postpone the meet, so I just told myself that if I don’t race tomorrow it’s not that big of a deal and it won’t ruin the rest of my meet. I just tried to stay positive about it.

Would you say after everything that you guys have been through that you are OK with third place?

CB: It wasn’t the goal. The goal was to win, and we thought we had a legitimate chance, and I think we gave it everything we had. We can’t be disappointed with it.

CC: There are no regrets looking back on it. This was an amazing season. That’s just what happened at the end. You’ve got to be proud of what we did.

We’ll switch it up a little bit. You guys are both from Kentucky. How well did you guys know each other?

CB: Just through meets. We didn’t live too close.

CC: About an hour away.

CB: I would see Cory, little guy coming up on the scene trying to beat me. I think our coaches always messed around with each other back and forth — a little banter about how Cory was going to beat me and some of the older guys I swam with. So I knew him like that, but this year we have gotten to know each other a lot better.

CC: He was afraid of me when I was 4-foot-11, 90 pounds. (Laughs.)

What is the biggest difference between here and Kentucky?

CC: The weather, the people.

CB: No grass.

CC: No blue grass.

CB: They both have nice things about them. Kentucky is a hard place to beat once you have grown up there, but it’s so nice out here. You can’t just swim outside year round in Kentucky. Here with the sunshine and palm trees, it’s pretty hard to beat.

Who is better with the ladies?

CB: He definitely tries a lot harder than I do.

CC: (Laughs) Burckle has a girlfriend so he is out of this competition already.

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