Burns swims her way to Merrimack College


Provided by Mia Burns

Burns signing her commitment to Merrimack College.

Sophia Mulgrew, Staff Writer

Being able to take part in a college sport is a dream most athletes strive to achieve, and now, senior Mia Burns has achieved this goal as she will be swimming at Merrimack College. After years of hard work and dedication in high school, Burns also plans on majoring in human development services for the next four years in college.

Ever since she was young, Burns has had a passion for competitive swimming, starting out at Westford Swim and Tennis Club when she was four. Since then, Burns has swam at North Shore Swim Club and Patriot Swim Club, and now currently swims at Crimson Aquatics. She has also been a member of the WA Swim and Dive team throughout her high school career.

Throughout the numerous clubs she has participated in, Burns has the greatest passion for her current team, Crimson Aquatics. According to Burns, the bond she shares with her teammates and coaches is unbreakable, as it allows her to thrive in the pool and value swimming every day.

“Crimson [Aquatics] is my favorite because of my connections with my teammates and coaches,” Burns said. “They make me love swim more and more everyday.”

Even though she takes part in many swimming events, Burns is most drawn to backstroke and butterfly due to the length of the events.

“My favorite event is the 200 butterfly and the 200 backstroke,” Burns said. “I like that they are longer than the sprint events but shorter than the distance events.”

Starting out as a freshman, Burns was a distance and IM swimmer. However, as her swimming career progressed, she made her way to find higher passions for different strokes which led to some incredible achievements.

“As an athlete, she is fun to coach because she is so versatile. As she moved to senior year, she filled in at the strokes for us, racing breaststroke and butterfly for the team at states this year,” swim coach Caitlin Klick-McHugh said. “She swims at a high level, being named a DCL All Star again this year. She will be missed as she heads off to swim in college.”

Although she loves the water, swimming wasn’t something Burns knew she wanted to do at the collegiate level until her freshman year in high school. But after years of hard work and time she has spent in the pool with her teammates, it is hard for her to imagine her life without it.

“I have known since around freshman year that I wanted to swim in college. I can’t remember a time in my life where I didn’t want to swim,” Burns said. “I can’t picture my life without having a team around me.”

As a team leader and captain, Burns really knew how to make each individual teammate of hers feel proud by  acknowledging their accomplishment after each race. Apart from that, Burns was recognized for organizing fun team bonding activities.

“Having grown up with many of the girls on the team, Mia’s love for the team shines through,” McHugh said. “As captain, she organized positive shout outs for teammates, as well as fun outings like Boda Borg, sleepovers, and Fire and Ice. She really understands that a happy, close team can make the difference.”

Apart from the fun and joy swimming brings her, swimming has taught Burns how to be motivational towards herself and those around her. Being a supportive teammate is key to a successful team and swim season.

“The best part of swimming is how it has taught me a lot in how to motivate myself and others in the pool,” Burns said.

According to Burns, one of the greatest things about being an athlete is the proud moments you feel when you achieve a great accomplishment. Burns strongly believes one of her proudest moments was when her hard work paid off during the States meet.

“Winning states with the WA team felt like all our hard work had paid off,” Burns said. “Making states was a huge goal of mine.”

After consistently putting in work in and out of school to become a college athlete, Burns has seen a welcoming and friendly community at Merrimack. Burns knew that Merrimack was where she belonged and the perfect fit for her.

“I chose Merrimack for the friendly and welcoming community. From the first moments I met the team I knew it was the environment I wanted to spend my next four years in,” Burns said. “The team and environment were very noticeable from the very beginning and I knew it was a team I wanted to be a part of.”