Louisville sports features
By Thomas Dahlia, and Monny Niamke
Joao De Lucca
All the way from Rio, Brazil, Joao De Lucca did not speak a word of English when he got
to the University of Louisville. As an American citizen, going to college is something you
prepare yourself for with classes, busy schedules, practices, workouts, jobs on campus, and
the transition from high school.
Can you imagine on top of that, how it would be for a foreign athlete to adapt himself to
this new life, new culture, new language, new place, and new food?
Nobody knew him, but he did everything he could to represent well the university of
Louisville through Big East competition and Nationals.
“After all the hard work, it feels good to be seeing as “somebody” when you were nobody
to people,” De Lucca said.
De Lucca is now a senior, majoring in communications. One of his best memories was
during the summer of 2012 when he competed in the in London Olympics.
“To be able to be one the athletes to participate at the Olympics was such a blessing, being
there and representing my country and the University of Louisville was a big honor, I live
and work hard every day for those moments,” De Lucca said. “The crazy thing about being
one of those athletes is that you walk around in the Olympic Village. You literally may end
up having dinner around a big table with Lebron James, Raphael Nadal, Roger Federer,
Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt,”
De Lucca is not only a swimmer, during his free time he loves to skateboard and bike, he
is also a good surfer. He loves to watch other sports like soccer or college basketball. One
of his dreams after swimming is to build a swimming camp with the highest technology so
that swimmers can come and train with the best equipment that they have not see anywhere
“Making history,” is the only thing that motivates De Lucca, this is his last year and he
would do anything to win it all this year. Card Nation, keep your eyes on him and make
sure you come and support De Lucca and his teammates for their first swim meet on Friday,
October 11th at the Ralph Wright Natatorium at 5 p.m.
New assistant swim coach Alex Burtch
Is succeeding in athletics and academics a real challenge? Some can manage this perfectly
at a very high level.
This is the case of Alex Burtch, who was the captain of the swimming team this past year.
A recent graduate with a perfect 4.0 GPA in health and human performance with a
concentration in exercise science, Burtch knew precisely how to manage his schedule.
“I worked hard to never be surprised by assignments or tests. Once that was mastered, I
could easily focus on my swimming.”
Succeeding in both fields was a priority for him.
At the NCAA championships last April, Burtch and his teammates finished fourth in the
400-meter freestyle relay. That was his most memorable race of his career, and also his last.
“I will never forget that feeling when I finished that race and my career.”
Burtch is currently pursuing a master of science in exercise physiology and working as an
intern. In addition to his academic schedule, Burtch also crossed over the student-teacher
line in the pool, and is currently the new volunteer assistant coach of the U of L swimming
program, next to head coach Arthur Albiero.
His main goal, he said, is to help the incoming freshmen “shift their mindsets and raise
their expectations.” He does not realize yet that his four years in college are already passed.
“How did I get to be an old man so quickly?”
When asked about the feeling of entering the pool for the first time as a non-member of
the swim team, Burtch replied, “Ouch!”
The University of Louisville Swim and Dive team is getting ready for another season,
but this year they will be a lot stronger. The head coach Arthur Albiero did an awesome job
recruiting and there are 18 incoming freshmen on the men side.
This year our team is going to be a lot stronger and we are already very connected to each
other. The atmosphere in practice has been really good and we are always pushing ourselves
to the limit. Having more guys at the pool is fun because there are more people to compete
against and with such a young team this season we are working a lot on technique and little
details that can make a huge difference in a race. We are very focused on working hard to
improve not just as individuals but to improve as a team together.
For me as a captain, this year has been really good to work with younger guys so I can
pass some of my own experience, good and bad experiences included. I feel it is important
to share with them the knowledge that I have gathered over my four years at U of L. I really
want to see these guys getting better as athletes and as individuals.
I am very excited for this upcoming season. It will be my last season competing for U of
L so I want to see this new freshman class do really well so when I leave I can say that this
team is a lot better now compared to how it was when I got here. And I will be more than
happy to know that I did something good for the team and could help the team to get better.