Roy Burch *File photo
Roy Burch *File photo

WEDNESDAY, JULY 27: Roy Burch continues to rewrite the Bermuda record books.

Competing at the FINA World Championships in Shanghai, China, Burch knocked seven-tenths of a second off his time in the 100m freestyle when he clocked 51.01.

National team coach Ben Smith said: “He was only two-hundredths away from going under 51 for the first time.  He is pleased with this performance as his focus has been on the 50 free where he will compete in two days.”

Smith was also pleased with Julian Fletcher, who broke the Bermuda record in the 50m breaststroke when he stopped the clock at 29.11.

The previous Bermuda record had been set in a suit that is now banned from international competition.

Smith added: “Fletcher swam his lifetime best in the 100 breast but was not at the level to make his Olympic qualifying time. Julian needs to have more opportunities to race in a 50m pool against strong competition as the race is completely different than the 100 yards that he swims at university.”

Fletcher swam a 1:05:00 100m breaststroke.

Smith added: “On Day 2 Kiera (Aitken) swam her main event the 100 back where she performed well but not at her fastest for the season and not at the level of the qualifying time. Kiera had her second swim on Day 4 in the 50 back where she again performed well finishing two tenths away from her best time.”

BASA press release: Burch shines in Shanghai

Today Ben Smith, National Coach reported on the Roy Burch’s performance at the FINA World Championships in Shanghai.

In January when Roy completed his move from Germany to Charlotte North Carolina he had a set of goals to accomplish.  He was going to join the Mac program and try to get a chance to work with their elite team under the guidance of world renowned coach David Marsh.  It was his hard work in practice that allowed him to get the opportunity to practice with the elite team a couple of times per week.  As he improved they gave him more practice time.  As he reached more finals at the Grand Prix meets the program embraced him even more and he was allowed to prepare for World Championships along with the elite program. 

The next goal was to make hi qualifying time for the 2012 games while setting new National records in his main events.  On Friday morning in Shanghai while most of Bermuda was continuing their Cup match festivities Roy became the first Bermudian to go under 23 seconds in the 50 freestyle.  His time of 22.69 shattered his National record of 23.10 and gave him the Olympic qualifying time that he came to achieve.

Smith said, “The race was very exciting with Roy completing the 50 meter race without a breath using is new straight arm stroke and finishing by winning his heat. He was able to finish in 28th overall position only 3 tenths separating him from a semi-finals birth.”

Accomplishing these first two goals has allowed him to create great opportunities for him to reach his future goals of competing in the finals at the London games and setting the positive example for the young Bermudians coming behind him.  Smith continued, “As a coach I am proud of what Roy has accomplished in the pool this year but it is what he has done out of the water has been more important.  Watching how he worked with our young swimmers during our overseas training camp and seeing him interact with all of our swimmers when he has the chance to be around them is o impressive.  He shows them an extreme work ethic and focus on the sport that is such a great example for all Bermuda youngsters.  Roy is attached to swimming at all times as he keeps an eye on his competitors around the globe while also keeping an eye on all of his Bermuda team at all levels wherever they compete.”

Roy is quick to send comments and congratulations to them for what they accomplish because they are part of his world of swimming. 

Reaching the Olympic qualifying time and the new record would be enough for most but soon after he completed the race he started to talk about what he needs to do to catch the swimmers in front of him.  That number of swimmers in front of him is shrinking and he will be working hard to reach those goals. In closing, Smith commented, “ I hope that we can support him in his journey because of how important he can be for the people he is an example to.  It is always more satisfying when the person that work the hard is the example and reaches the goals rather than talent alone.”