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Improvement ‘long time coming’, says Burch

Consistency at the beginning of the race season has been long overdue, top swimmer Roy-Allan Burch told The Royal Gazette yesterday.

Commenting on his sparkling form of late, the Olympian said he was happy to see his performances improving each time he hits the water.

Earlier this month Burch dipped under 50 seconds for the first time in a meet in Genoa, Italy, when he was timed in 49.49 seconds.

He then lowered that time on his way to a silver medal at the same meet, hitting the pad in 49.29 seconds.

A week later he set a new mark in a meet in Bolzano, Italy, touching the wall in 49.27 seconds on his way to a fourth-place finish.

“It feels good to perform better than I ever have before in my main events,” said Burch. “It's been a long time coming and this is the first time I have been able to execute my races at this level this early in the season. I still have a lot of work to do but it's reassuring to know that my training has been moving in the right direction.

“I went into the meets expecting to have solid improvements and that's what I came out with.”

Burch pointed to two key components that had helped him.

“There are two main contributing factors to my current form — my consistency and work ethic, to train hard every day and do the extra things I need to improve.

“I also made a major stroke change to reach my main goal of competing for a medal at the Olympics.

“It's taken a long time to rebuild my stroke and I am finally getting a better handle of the stroke. There are many ways to swim fast but I believe that this style is the way for me to swim at the highest level.”

Eleven-time Olympic medallist Ryan Lochte has joined the same club as Burch as he prepares for international events.

“It's cool having Lochte around but we are two different styles of swimmers,” he said.

“We generally don't train together when he's around but when the opportunity arises I learn about what he does best and apply it to things that I could do better.

“It's mainly his kicking strength that I work to match under and on top of the water.”

Burch continues to train on the short course before his transition to long course competition.

“I might attend Short Course Nationals but that is on the ropes at this point in time. Otherwise, I will continue to train hard and work on my technique going into the New Year.

“I was able to learn a lot from my races in Italy and there are a few more things that I want to clean up. Some simple changes that will make a big difference.”

Bermuda Amateur Swimming Association (BASA) president Ben Smith admitted it had been difficult for Burch.

“He continues to show the potential to compete shoulder to shoulder with the best in the world while not always getting the same level of support as his competitors,” said Smith.

“During this recent trip Roy was able to beat swimmers that make millions of dollars to compete for their country whereas he has been kept out of many of his practises due to lack of funding. “

• Aaron Rego and Emma Harvey both impressed at the Harbour Club winter meet over the weekend at the BASA pool.

Harvey set an age-group national record in the 11 to 12 400 metres Individual Medley.

Rego recorded two personal bests, lowering his 13 to 15 100 metres butterfly time by a second and inching himself closer to his second qualifier for Carifta Games.

Junior swimmers from all clubs also had a promising weekend with 50 personal best times being recorded.

Rhys Insley gained the ‘B' standard that is required to graduate into the full meets.

Harbour's seniors tallied 65 personal best times.

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Published November 14, 2013 at 8:00 am (Updated November 13, 2013 at 7:12 pm)

Improvement ‘long time coming’, says Burch

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