In the swim: Roy Burch will headline a meet on December 16 which will help raise funds for his Olympic campaign and be Bermuda’s first Masters Age Group National Championships. *Photo by Ras Myykal
In the swim: Roy Burch will headline a meet on December 16 which will help raise funds for his Olympic campaign and be Bermuda’s first Masters Age Group National Championships. *Photo by Ras Myykal

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 23: The greatest swimmer Bermuda has ever produced, Roy-Allan Burch, reclined in his kitchen chair the other day and pondered momentarily what was about to happen to him.

“I can’t believe what those people are doing on my behalf. Just for me. I feel humbled and it blows my mind when I think about it,” he said from his US base in Charlotte.

Those people are you and me... the current inhabitants of Bermuda.

And what ‘we’ are about to do for Roy is substantial, but pales when you consider what he has already done for Bermuda and Bermuda swimming.

The man, though not the fastest in the world, is the fastest ever to be born in Bermuda.

In short, he is extraordinary at his craft and on that basis he is being honoured and looked after by you and me — on December 16.

Roy arrives back in Bermuda in the next few days to spend a little quality time at home for Christmas with family, friends and fans.

And he naturally will be the main attraction at that swim meet, which is now gathering enormous momentum with the arrival of the ARGUS Group, Flanagan’s and the Bermuda Cancer and Health Centre as passionate sponsors.

For your part, it is hoped you come out to the meet to watch Roy.

So what is this meet all about?

Well, Roy Allan-Burch has agreed to race the 100m freestyle, at the BASA Pool on December 16.

Olympics

If you have ever pulled on a pair of goggles and swum four laps of the BASA Pool (100m) you will know what if feels like.

And presumably you have looked up at the clock to see what time you did it in.

The average standard of speed is about 60 seconds per 50m, so if you have completed the swim in 120 seconds or so, you are swimming at the average speed for a human.

Roy has swum it in 50 seconds and, given the two swimmers per nation rule, he sits about 29th in the Olympic rankings.

This swim meet is going to raise money for him to continue his climb up those Olympic rankings by training with the world’s elite in the US.

He will be pushed to his absolute limit in the competition.

“This is going to be fun, yes, but it will hurt, and I know I have to be at national record speed to win it,” he surmised.

And it’s hoped ego and hard training will bring him home in 50 seconds or better because a few of his rivals will be around that mark.

These relay teams will have four swimmers each, doing just 25m legs. And one of those teams is the returning Bermuda Olympic Squad from the 1992 Olympics — fellows like Mike Cash — all coming out of retirement to salute and help Roy raise funds for his ongoing Olympic training.

The other teams in this unique race are intriguing too. For instance, the Sharks Club will field a teenage side, which includes Trunk Island winner Nick Patterson, that can swim 51 seconds.

Nick Strong’s team is made up of four quality Bermudian born swimmers — including triathlon champ Jonathan Herring and Florida State University student, Nick Thompson.

My team is made up of just ex-pats, men who forged their abilities in pools outside of Bermuda but who now call the island home.

Intriguing

Kevin Insley, who was runner-up in the Trunk Island Swim is part of our squad and we can clock around 53 seconds.

Roy said: “It will feel like I am in a major swim meet final. Simple maths tells you all of us will be very close at the finish and the uniqueness of the event makes it very intriguing to me.”

The meet is not just a one off 100m race.

That race is part of a greater event — the inaugural Bermuda Masters National Swimming Championships, where every event winner will be crowned a National Champion for that Age bracket.

It will be a spectacular night, with TV cameras, beverages, politicians, raffles, entertainment and corporate support.

It is going to be great and greatness is what we are rewarding.

The greatness of Roy’s ability, the greatness of the human spirit through support and kindness, the greatness of the historic moments that will crown Bermuda Age Champions...and the greatness of togetherness.

Greatness, is by definition extraordinary, and what is extraordinary is by definition rare.

And yet, it is extraordinary qualities that most clearly reveal what is good--what is the standard of excellence in any field--by revealing more clearly the limits of what is possible.

We see that in Roy Allan-Burch - and you will feel it by coming to watch.

Ric Chapman will be swimming against Roy Burch on December 16.