Burch thinks Olympic mark is in his grasp
Roy-Allan Burch remains upbeat about his chances of competing at this summer's Olympics in Rio.
The SwimMac Carolina swimmer has made a miraculous recovery from a potential career-ending injury and will resume his quest to qualify for a third straight Olympics at next month's Canadian Trials in Toronto.
It will be the first time that Burch has swam competitively since rupturing both his patella tendons after falling during a training session nearly a year ago.
The Olympic qualifying mark for the 50-metres freestyle event is 23.05 sec, which Burch feels is still within his reach.
“I go to the Canadian Trials in two weeks and then another meet the following week to either make the time or see where I'm at,” Burch said. “I will have time to really sharpen up for a month and then hit it.
“I've been doing stuff that's showing that I can do it, so it will just be about controlling the nerves and executing.
“I feel good, I just want to get there. I'll probably shave [his times] and see what I can do and hopefully I do it. That would be great and the coach feels I can do it.”
Burch's career was left hanging in the balance after he injured himself last April.
“I don't think people really know the devastation of the injury and what I had to deal with the rehabilitation and what it did to my body,” Burch said.
“A lot of people don't realise that it was both knees at the same time so it really sat me down and I lost 20lbs of muscle.”
Being confined to a wheelchair and not being able to walk for a period took its toll on Burch.
“It was devastating because I had never been in that place mentally and physically,” Burch added. “I was in the best shape I had ever been in and, having worked so long to get to that spot, I felt that I had lost it all.
“It's just been an eye-opening experience having to relearn how to walk and being in a wheelchair and dealing with all of these kinds of things after being at a physical level that only ten per cent of the people on the planet might be at.”
The swimmer's determination to overcome his injury and get his career back on track has been an inspiration to his SwimMac Carolina team-mates and coaches.
“The injury is probably the worst any athlete can have,” David Marsh, the SwimMac Carolina coach, said. “A double patella is usually career ending in most athletes but Roy has been ferocious in his recovery.
“He came out of surgery and started working hard and he has amazed the doctors back in Charlotte with his progress.
“I think he is well on his way of recapturing his form at the point when he was injured — the height of his swimming ability — so he's well on his way to getting back towards that.”