Roy Burch, a graduate of Springfield College and Division 3 swimmer has qualified for the 2012 London Olympics by becoming the first swimmer from Bermuda to break 23 seconds… in a long course meter pool. Roy also competed at the recent World Championships in China. Now swimming with Dave Marsh at SwimMac, Roy is poised to continue his great improvement and will look for that 2nd swim across the pond.
While not in the pool or weight room, Roy is working on not just building a website, but a company and a brand. Check out his venture: Wonder Effect To say he’s a busy and successful guy is selling it short.
We wish Roy the best of luck training and going into London. We hope to hear from him again!
For those that aren’t familiar with your time at Springfield, path to SwimMAC and your swimming successes, can you talk a little bit about your journey?
When entering Springfield I had decided that I would end my swimming career there. I had dealt with many challenges in and out of the sport but I still wanted to have the student/athlete experience. During my junior year I swam the Bermuda qualification time for World Championships (2007). I was unaware that I made the qualification until I heard from my National Coach. He asked me if I wanted to attend and I of course said yes. I went on to compete at the Championships and had an unbelievable experience. This experience helped ignite a new passion for the sport. After competing at Worlds I was eligible to participate in the Beijing Olympic Games. The Olympics changed my outlook on the whole sport. Everything was so epic. While at the games I sought out Cullen Jones to find out where he trained. He told me he swims at Swim MAC in Charlotte and that his coach David Marsh would be willing to talk to me. I was invited to the Games and had an amazing experience but I was not satisfied with the way that I had swum. I didn’t improve my time from the year before. I did not go to Swim MAC immediately because I did not have the proper funding in order for me to be there. I first went to live with my brother in Cologne, Germany and swam with a club team there. There I raised my fitness but after a year I needed more higher end training that I could not get there. I left Germany and began making arrangements to visit Swim MAC shortly after I began swimming here and have made significant improvements.
When you sit down and talk to your coaches and mentors in this sport, how do you outline your goals? How do you evaluate them? Are you willing to share those goals with the d3swimming.com community?
I usually keep my main goals fairly personal to avoid people telling me what I am capable of. When speaking with my coaches about my goals we usually discuss training goals. I know that if I am capable of reaching higher standards in my workouts than I will be able to perform better in my races.
It seems like John Taffe always has a sprinter, how has your development from your time under him at Springfield College helped the transition to Coach Marsh and SwimMAC?
John Taffe helped me in a huge way. I had no school to attend 1 month before I was supposed to begin as a freshman. He made it possible for me to get into Springfield and I was able to set my place on the team. I think he always felt that I needed more than I could get at Springfield but I was able to improve my yards times each year that I swam under him. John expected a certain work ethic from me that I have brought to Swim MAC.
What have you taken from the elite group at SwimMAC since you’ve been there?
Becoming more competitive in training. The elite guys are competitive with each other everyday and always want to touch the wall first. When I practice with them I dig deeper and work to sprint faster than I ever have.
What makes you a great swimmer?
I’m not sure that I’m a great swimmer but I always work harder to be better than I was. I don’t like to waste my time and if im going to spend so much time in the water I want to improve. I like that I am capable of competing with some of the best athletes/swimmers in the world.
If you could have any sandwich you wanted for lunch, what would it be? Be specific!
I guess you could consider it a sandwich – Whenever I am home in Bermuda i go to “Island Cuisine” and get a Coffee Roll with Bacon, Egg and Cheese. Im yet to find the same kind of Coffee roll in the states. The ones we have in Bermuda are like 3 inches thick with a ton of glaze over the top. I love the taste of salt and sweet together. Perfect combination.
You have significant international experience under your belt already, including the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, how has that experience helped you going into this cycle and the process leading up to London?
That experience has made me hungry to achieve more. I don’t just want to be known as one of Bermuda’s best swimmers. When I travel to compete I want my opponents to know that I will bring my best. Since Beijing I’ve only increased my training so that I can give myself the best chance of making it into the finals. There are no guarantees so I know that I have to get as strong and as fast as I can. The international experience only gives me confidence and allows me to be more relaxed when im racing against some of the best guys in the World.
Training with them is great because I can learn so much. They are stellar athletes and can do things in training that I can’t. Im always working to be a better swimmer in training and working with them makes it easier. It allows me to push to where they are.
What message would you send to d3 swimmers given the opportunity?
Be true to the sport, work hard in training and try to keep it fresh.
What is your favorite username on the d3 forums?
I haven’t visited the site since I was in college but I will be sure to check back.
You’re a guy that sports some ink, are any of your tattoos directly related to swimming? What is the next tattoo on your wishlist and why?
I have the Olympic rings tattooed on the inside of my left arm. I got them in Beijing so they are very significant to swimming. I don’t have another tattoo on my agenda but Im sure that I will be in the parlor after London.
Talk a little bit about life balance and time management, you are someone that has to have a great set of time management skills in order to accomplish all of your personal, athletic and familial goals.
Time management is something that I learned from my mother. Its something I find that comes natural because I have been doing it for so long. I just find that if you take care of the important tasks first, what ever time you have left over is yours. Its always important to take care of your obligations. Planning things out and writing down lists always helps.
What is the best race you’ve ever seen?
I’ve seen so many amazing races. I watched every single race while in Beijing. I watched Alexander Popov at World Champs Barcelona win the 50. I’ve watched Phelps break countless World Records from early in his career. I watched Ian Thorpe break the 400 free World Record in 2002. The list goes on and on. Its hard to pick a specific race that I could consider the best. The race that comes to mind most often is the 4×100 relay in Beijing. It was amazing to be right there and it was great to have seats down on deck right at the blocks. George Bush was also sitting behind me which was pretty cool.