It still doesn’t feel real. I can’t believe that Coach Burek isn’t here with us anymore. When I walk on the pool deck, it’s still because of him but now it is for him too. I’ve been thinking back on the positive influence he had on me in the short span he knew me. Coach Burek was the perfect balance of all qualities. There is so much to say. He was so serious, but could pull out a joke anywhere. He was supportive and pushed you beyond your expectations. I didn’t think this little old man would have this big of an impact on me. He was special. He helped me find my love for swim again, helped me find my safe place in the pool. Coach Burek saw the dying spark and somehow, still unknown to me how, relit it.
Fall of 2019, I was having a freak out about being a freshman in college because I was having some friend troubles/some personal problems and I started questioning if I made the right choice and so on, but so after my first real college-level exam, I thought I bombed it and should drop the class you know the whole shebang which led to the thought I should drop out I’m not ready, and this exam was right before my first ever meeting with Coach Burek so I’m freaking out and when the meeting began he asked me how I was I just burst into tears…Coach Burek proceeded to clear his next two hours’ worth of work to take a walk around campus to help calm me down and talk to me for those two hours.
Anyone who met Thomas Burek was lucky to have done so. I already miss him. Last year I was having really bad anxiety during our season and Coach Burek would tell me to look at or find him on the deck, and that I was okay as long as he was there. I didn’t think it would work but whenever I felt myself getting bad in the pool, I would look for those yellow crocs, and it worked every time. It might be harder now, but I’m going to remind myself that even though I can’t see him, he’s still there with me. Always. Goggle up there Tommy B, we will see each other soon, <3
Kaitlyn Fox – Contributing Writer