Local college athletes staying busy this summer

  • Loyola lacrosse midfielder Pat Byrnes is spending his summer as an intern for the Secret Service. Just don't ask him exactly what he's doing.
Loyola lacrosse midfielder Pat Byrnes is spending his summer… (Baltimore Sun photo by Gene…)
July 07, 2011|By Chris Branch, Jakob Engelke and Matt Castello, The Baltimore Sun

Pat Byrnes wishes he could tell you what he's doing this summer.

But giving details about work isn't an option for the Loyola rising senior lacrosse player, who has an internship with the Secret Service.

"I can't really tell you what I do on a day-to-day basis," said Byrnes, whose father, Gerry, was in the Secret Service for more than 20 years. "My supervisor didn't allow me."

Byrnes, who works mostly in the Inner Harbor, loosely described his duties as "whatever they want me to do." He would not elaborate further.

But he did admit that he hasn't met anyone famous.

"No, not yet," the midfielder said with a chuckle.

Byrnes said it's tough for him to stay tight-lipped with his friends, who can chat freely about the duties of their summer internships or jobs.

"I'm pretty outgoing," Byrnes said. "It's hard and funny to say you can't tell them. I just tell them I basically do intern work."

Growing up, Byrnes heard his father recount his adventures in the Service, which piqued his interest in pursuing the career path.

Gerry Byrnes spent most of his Service employment in former President Ronald Reagan's detail. He wasn't in the detail during the failed assassination attempt on Reagan in March 1981.

"Dad never pushed me into this," Pat Byrnes said. "Just seeing his friends and knowing he did it helped."

Byrnes plans to continue his pursuit of being an agent after college. He is a communications major at Loyola with a concentration in public relations.

"Unfortunately they don't have a criminal justice major at Loyola," Byrnes said. "But it's definitely something I'm going to look into. You have to go through a pretty prolonged training."

After the summer, Byrnes will focus on academics and lacrosse training. He played in all 13 games last season for the Greyhounds and scored one goal on 12 shots.

"I'm just looking to finish out my last year of school and lacrosse and go from there," he said.

Following is a look at what some other local college athletes are up to this summer:

Meredith Budner
Towson, swimming

Meredith Budner scoffed when her aunt and uncle brought up the idea. No one in her family had ever set foot in Israel, let alone lived there.

"I didn't believe it at first," Budner said. "But we did some research, and it turned out it was possible."

Budner, a rising senior swimmer at Towson, will be traveling to Israel later this month to try out for the Israeli national swim team in hopes of competing at the 2012 Olympics in London.

Israeli law states that if you are Jewish, you are allowed to declare citizenship in Israel.

"I'm like 100 percent Jewish," Budner said. "And since Israel is a Jewish state, I was allowed to do that."

Budner traveled to Israel — which she called "the most beautiful place" she's seen — last summer and spent six days in the country, touring and gaining her citizenship. She said the process was fairly simple, although the forms she had to sign were completely in Hebrew.

"I'm not that familiar with Hebrew," Budner said. "So I was just signing and hoping everything was OK."

Accompanying her to Israel will be Towson coach Pat Meade, who said Budner has "a really good shot" of making the team.

"She's never really fully committed herself to the long course," Meade said. "This is the first time I've seen her do this. Basically what she needs to do is she's got to swim a time faster than what she's done before. But she's already on her way."

Long course is the common terminology for swimming in an Olympic-size pool, which is roughly twice the size of the pools Budner has competed in at Towson. But she's had a busy summer, training in Colorado for the past few weeks and competing in the Santa Clara (Calif.) Grand Prix.

She set personal records in every event she swam in at the Grand Prix.

"She's [Israel's] fastest swimmer," Meade said.

Budner was modest about her chances, saying they were "pretty good." She has maintained contact with Israeli team officials and is "absolutely excited" about the chance to represent the country.

"I've been learning all about Israel and its history as I've gone along," Budner said. "It's great to be a part of it now."

Ben Nelson
Navy, baseball

For most local college athletes, summer is a time for relaxation and occasional training sessions with other teammates. But for athletes at the Naval Academy, summer is consumed by rigorous training regimens designed to improve leadership and show cadets what life will be like when they become officers post-graduation.

Just 20 days after playing in the NCAA baseball tournament, Navy right-handed pitcher Ben Nelson traveled to California to take part in PROTRAMID, which is short for Professional Training for Midshipmen. PROTRAMID is a mandatory four-week crash course that introduces cadets to every major branch of the Navy and Marine Corps.

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