Alumni Spotlight Series: Shea Burcham, United States Air Force Academy

August 1, 2020

Shea Burcham is a 2019 graduate from Reagan and was a key member of the Rattler Aquatics team as a 3-year Varsity letterman (also lettering twice at her previous high school), a team captain, Express News Class 6A All-Area and All-District Team member, among other accomplishments, and is a current school record-holder in the 200 Medley and 400 Medley relays.  To read more about Shea’s accomplishments from Reagan, go to

Shea now competes on the women’s swimming and diving team at the United States Air Force Academy, NCAA Division 1, in Colorado Springs, specializing in backstroke, freestyle and the individual medley.  She is in her sophomore year and majoring in System Engineering.  Shea took time to share with us her thoughts on her high school and college careers.

Q:  What has been your most exciting moment at the Air Force Academy?
A:  I was having a rough freshman season adapting to military & college life.  Still, my coach gave me the opportunity to swim as lead off on a relay, and with my whole team cheering me on I dropped almost a full second and swam the fourth fastest 100 backstroke time in school history.
Q:  What is the biggest difference between competing in high school and in college sports?
A:  The level of commitment required to excel in college sports is so much higher. Balancing everything falls solely on you and without true passion for the sport, the experience will not be as rewarding.
Q:  What has your experience been like during COVID-19 shutdown?
A:  My coach sent us lift workouts for us to use to train at home. I also did a lot of running and swimming with a few old teammates of mine. Now I am in a two-week quarantine period back at school where I am not allowed in the pool or the gym so I am doing a lot of running and body-weight workouts while waiting to get back in the pool!
Q:  Which Reagan tradition meant the most to you?
A:  Every time we won districts & regionals, we threw Coach Sans in the pool, and at my last regionals he dragged me in with him. It was a good end to my last high school meet before heading off to state!
Q:  What is your message to current Rattlers about competing at the next level?
A:  Competing at the next level is so exciting and exploring your options is a huge part of that. Don’t ever shut down one opportunity because you think you are looking for something else. Sometimes unexpected things and amazing opportunities arise from the places we never thought to look!

Thank you Shea and best of luck at the Air Force Academy!

You can follow Shea’s swimming career at the Air Force Academy at