The Louisville Cardinal

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!”

 

Swim Preview

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.