A-K Valley Senior Spotlight: Burrell’s Chloe Walton

Monday, February 26, 2024 | 11:36 AM

Handling the rigors of a high school sport and maintaining a 4.0 GPA is a tough balancing act.

Burrell’s Chloe Walton achieved her 4.0 by managing her time wisely between academics and swimming.

“Chloe is someone that always places academics first and athletics second,” coach Samantha Callen said. “I, as a coach, set that same expectation.”

Said Walton: “It’s difficult but manageable. I’m able to prioritize things in my life, and I learned that from my parents.”

Having a coach who understands the academic needs of the athletes also can be beneficial.

“Coach Callen is really good at working with us academically,” Walton said. “The later practice time allows us to go home, relax and catch up on homework before we go to practice.”

Said Callen: “We’ve accommodated practice times to later in the evenings so that our student athletes have the time they need to put forth towards academics, which was a request of them. It has allowed me to get them to focus solely on swimming when they’re with me.”

It’s been a down season for the Burrell swim team as the girls team finished 1-9 overall and 1-6 in Section 4-2A and the boys were 3-7, 1-6.

“Chloe puts forth extra effort when it’s not needed without being asked,” Callen said. “Her teammates see the hard work and effort she puts in, and often times they mimic that energy.”

As a captain, Walton has done all the right things to push her teammates to be their best.

“Because we’re such a small team, it helps us stay closer so we push each other,” Walton said. “We’re all in it together and stay on top of it so we stay pretty motivated.”

Walton has dropped significant times from her freshman to her senior year, and that showed in the Westmoreland County Coaches Association meet Jan. 27.

She improved on her 200 freestyle time by three seconds, posting a 2:06.55 and placing ninth. She also shaved a full second in her 100 free with a 57.15, good for sixth.

Walton’s times qualified her for WPIALs in both events, and she hopes to do well.

“I’m very excited for WPIALs, and I’m pushing myself to make states for the first time,” Walton said.

This week, she took some time for a Senior Spotlight Q&A:

Do you swim with any clubs or teams outside of the high school season?

I used to swim for the Vandergrift Swim Club, but once I got to high school, I stopped swimming for them. Once the high school season ends, I’ll go back to swimming for them this summer.

How has taking time off from swimming and training in other ways helped you perform in the pool?

It was hard. That was the first time in eight years I hadn’t been in the pool consistently, so it was an adjustment. I did a bunch of lifting and running. It took my endurance down a notch, but it helped me build strength.

Is freestyle the only stroke you swim? Any particular stroke you like second? What’s your least favorite stroke to swim?

Yes. An off stroke is not my thing. My second would have to be breaststroke. My least favorite is butterfly. I hate the butterfly. I just can’t swim it.

Which do you prefer, distance or sprint?

I wish I was a sprinter, but I’m a distance swimmer. I’m very good at pacing myself.

What have you learned in your four years of high school swimming?

I’ve learned to get out of my own head. My coach always tells me I’m a mental case. If I don’t do good at meets, it’s because I get in my own head and psyche myself out.

What is your favorite subject in school?

Literature because it’s my strongest subject.

College plans?

I just committed to swim at Saint Vincent College. Not super set on the major yet, but I think I’m going to major in marketing.

What is your favorite high school memory so far?

Anytime I get to hang out with my friends. It’s hard to find time with my busy schedule, but whenever I get the chance, I appreciate the time more.

What is a fact about yourself that would surprise people to know?

I love hardcore camping.

What’s one piece of advice you would want to leave your teammates before graduating?

Work hard, push through the pain. Swimming is difficult, but the results are so rewarding.


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