*File photo
*File photo

Roy-Allan Burch followed up his two national records in the BASA pool last weekend by giving talks at local schools.

On Monday Roy visited Sandy’s Middle School for their morning assembly.  Roy’s words to the students were for them to invest in themselves — that they all have potential but they must commit in order to reach it. 

On Tuesday he was at Somerset Primary in the morning spreading his message of motivation and hard work and he continued with a talk to the primary 6 class at Prospect Primary in the afternoon.

Burch said: “It was nice to see how eager the students were to hear my message and it was good to see that they all have dreams they would like to fulfill.” 

On Wednesday Burch did a Masters Swimmers freestyle clinic at the BASA pool on what was the coldest day of the year so far in Bermuda.  He made up for the low numbers with great enthusiasm. He then rushed from the pool to get to Purvis Primary where he was able to speak to an afternoon assembly for the whole school. 

Finishing his tour of schools was a visit to West Pembroke Primary on Friday morning. This was special as West Pembroke, with the guidance of Wendell Smith, has had a swim programme over the past couple of years at the BASA pool in the mornings before school begins. 

With a group that has embraced the sport of swimming, Burch talked about how well the message was received. He said that after “having the opportunity to travel the world and see other cultures and the level of poverty in many places, it is important to have all of the kids know how lucky they are to live in this paradise. More importantly they should not take for granted the opportunities that are in front of them.  We have the talent we need to commit to the work.”

Finishing off his week, Burch also hosted a freestyle clinic for up-and-coming swimmers at the BASA pool.

Starting off with a motivation talk to the group he set the tone for expectations.  Don’t be afraid to dream big.  Set your goal, write it down, put it where you can see it every day and work every day to reach it. 

When you succeed in reaching your goal set the next one.  Roy’s goal is to win gold in RIO.  He said if “that isn’t the goal and I do not believe that I should achieve that goal then I am wasting time. Even if you fall short of your goal it is the journey to reach the goal that is important. Every day is an opportunity to learn so learn, learn, learn.”

He also spoke of something he learned this week in a conversation with his sponsor Wayne Caines from Digicel. “From that conversation I learned that past life challenges can weigh down future performances if you allow yourself to revert to the negative feelings you had during the previous challenge.  As I stood behind the blocks recently some negativity had crept in that was affecting me physically.  This new knowledge will go into my practice and help me on the blocks in future meets.”

 After the talk he demonstrated starts and swimming drills to the captivated group of youngsters and then spent time working with each of them on performing what he had shown.  You could see what effect have such a positive person around them had on the group as they clamoured to get photos with him at the end of the clinic.

National coach Ben Smith said: “I am proud of Roy’s accomplishments in the pool to date but this week showed the growth that is even more important.  He knows his importance to the sport in Bermuda and realizing that he carries a responsibility to pass on what he is learning through experience on to the next generation.  Not just swimmers but Bermuda youth in general.”