HomeMoorestown NewsWilliam Burris takes first at the United States Masters Swimming National Championship

William Burris takes first at the United States Masters Swimming National Championship

William Burris III started swimming at 3 years old. Now, about 29 years later, Burris became a United States Masters Swimming national champion. In August, at the Marriot USMS Summer National Championship at the University of Maryland, he won first place in the 50-meter freestyle event and fourth in the 50-meter backstroke. More than 1,000 swimmers competed in events during the five-day swim meet.

This was just the icing on the cake for Burris’ summer. In addition to the national championship, just days before the event, he and his wife Katherine welcomed their first child, a son named Charlie. Also, early in the year, Burris was promoted to executive vice president/chief operating officer of Burris Construction Company, a Moorestown-based design/build firm founded by his grandfather, William G. Burris.

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Though still young in his early 30s, Burris felt he didn’t have a whole lot of time to be in shape. So he set the goal to qualify in the master’s swimming event, and the year before the USMS National Championship, Burris qualified to participate.

“I was scared before the event. I was 31 years old, as a senior graduating college at 22 years old, I didn’t know I would be doing this again. I think when you do it later in life, it is suddenly serious,” Burris said.

Along with a few others from the Jersey Wahoos, he went to the USMS Summer National Championship in Maryland to compete. Unfortunately, Burris had to go alone since his wife and mother had to stay with the baby.

“I went by myself, which wasn’t ideal, but I’m glad I did it,” Burris said.

Burris arrived on the Thursday night of the meet and swam the next day. Burris was part of the 30-to-34 age bracket. For his first time, Burris was nervous. He hadn’t been in the water in about a month, so he felt a little rusty.

However, in his first event, the backstroke, he finished in fourth place. It ended up being a great icebreaker for him, and he felt very relaxed doing it. But Burris didn’t come to the event for fourth place.

The next day was Burris’s freestyle event, which is his best. Because of his icebreaker the day before, along with some extra adrenaline, Burris won first place.

“I’m fortunate the freestyle was the second day. I don’t know if I would have been mentally ready. It felt good before and great after,” Burris said.

When Burris found out about his win, he was in shock and had to look at the scoreboard a couple of times to believe it. Before he got a chance to tell his wife, she was able to get the score through a mobile app the USMS National Championship had.

Burris partially credits his win to the adrenaline from his son’s birth only days before.

“It might sound cheesy, but you do it for him so you can tell him stories and stuff like that,” Burris said.

Burris also is excited to teach his son how to swim.

Now that Burris placed in the USMS National Championship, he has the opportunity to go to the FINA World Masters Championships in Russia to compete. Although he hasn’t decided on whether he is going, he said it is definitely not out of the question.

Burris first began swimming because of his mother.

After that, it was something Burris really enjoyed and found he was good at. He said his favorite part of swimming is the competition.

“I like to compete. I’m a sprinter. I like to go fast, and I like to win,” Burris said.

Burris has spent much of his life in the water. Growing up, he swam for the Woodstream Barracudas in Marlton. He trained in the off-season at Jersey Wahoos, with the Hurricanes and at GCIT.

Unfortunately, high school swimming wasn’t an option for Burris since the school didn’t have a swim team at the time. However, he did represent Moorestown Friends School his senior year when just he and his mother went to his first state championship. Although he was sick at the time, Burris said he did OK.

Burris also swam varsity during his four years at Rollins College in Winter Park, Fla., where he won a few conference championships and twice won Most Valuable Player honors. Now, he is training with the master’s team at Jersey Wahoos and at Velocity Sports in Cherry Hill.


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