Go, Tara, go!

Bremerton native Tara Kirk has made a splash in the past, but last week she added a tidal wave to her credit. Kirk, a senior at Stanford University in California, broke the world record on Friday, March 19 for the 100-meter breaststroke at the NCAA Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships at Texas A&M University. Kirk has been a swimmer for the Cardinal for four years and was a standout on the Bremerton High School swim team before dominating NCAA women’s swimming.

Kirk swam the 100-meter breaststroke in 1 minute, 4.79 seconds to break the world record. Of her accomplishment, she stated modestly, “I turned around in the water and saw my time — I was so excited — I never really celebrate about my swims in the water but I couldn’t help it.”

We forgive you for celebrating, Kirk. Not only do we forgive you for celebrating, we join you.

In addition to earning the world record, the next day, Kirk earned the 200-meter breaststroke title at the same swim meet, which also set an NCAA, American and U.S. Open record time of 2 minutes, 20.7 seconds.

Of this fete, again, nonchalance. “It’s not something I like to talk about all the time,” Kirk said in a phone call to the Patriot. “My life is much more than just swimming.”

While she was at the high school level, she placed second twice at the Class 4A State championships in the 100-meter breaststroke before graduating in 2000.

She continued her swimming at Stanford, where she became the first swimmer in history to win an NCAA title for four consecutive years in a breaststroke event. She also finished her collegiate career in the breaststroke event with an impressive 35-0 record.

In addition to her swimming accomplishments, Kirk also is a scholar. While in high school, she was a two-year All-American and All-Conference swimmer and picked up honors as an Academic-All-American and was recognized on the national level as a student-athlete, according to goStanford.com.

At Stanford, she is a human biology major who was slated to graduate this spring. However, she has pushed her graduation date back by one semester so she can prepare for her next goal: to represent the United States at the 2004 Summer Games. She will be participating in the Olympic Trials, which will be July 7-14 in Long Beach, Calif.

Her proud hometown of Bremerton will be rooting for her.

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