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Burch determined to medal

Roy-Allan Burch has set his sights on a podium finish at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow this summer.

And failure, he stressed, is not an option.

“I plan on competing for a medal and I really want to make a push to get on the podium,” said Burch who returned to Bermuda from his North Carolina training base yesterday. “That is the big hit this year and it is important for me and important for the country. I have been training hard and just want to do better for Bermuda.”

The 28-year-old achieved the Commonwealth Games qualifying standard twice last year, competing at the World Championships in Barcelona and the Genoa 40 Trofeo meet in Italy.

Burch holds national records in both the 50 and 100 metres freestyle. He achieved the national record in the 50 freestyle at the London Olympics two years ago as well as the national 100 freestyle mark en route to claiming a silver medal at last November's Genoa 40 Trofeo meet.

Burch's form has improved significantly since joining forces with North Carolina-based Swimmac Carolina, whose team includes Ryan Lochte, the 11-times Olympic medal-winner, claiming victories in the 50 and 200 freestyle at January's Sunbelt Championships.

“It is amazing when you are around Olympic medallists every day like Ryan Lochte, Cullen Jones and Nick Thoman and have the opportunity to see what they do that makes them great,” Burch said. “They just know how to be fast. I learn something every day and there is never a point in time where I feel I am complete. I always want to work hard with guys like that and never take anything for granted.”

Taking anything for granted is something Burch, a two-times Olympian, certainly does not intend to do when he competes in the 50 and 100 freestyle at the Schroders Spring Swimming Championships, which started at the BASA Pool at Saltus Grammar School yesterday.

“Nowadays I take every event I do very seriously and it has to be taken seriously because of where I am at,” he said. “There is not a whole lot of time left to get prepared for the summer, so any time I get to race and evaluate what I am doing, especially in Bermuda, is a great opportunity to learn more.”

Burch is among a trio of elite swimmers who are competing at the championships, the others being Lisa Blackburn and Rebecca Heyliger.

“We are lucky this time to have three of our elite athletes participating, which promises to be very exciting,” Ben Smith, the Bermuda head coach, said.

The meet will also feature junior swimmers that have already met the qualifying standard for next month's Carifta Swimming Championships in Aruba.

“A lot of them are swimming in similar events that they are going to be swimming at Carifta,” Smith added. “So we will get a good idea of where they are performing at this point.”

Fit as a fiddle: Burch returned to the Island yesterday and took part in a training session at the BASA pool at Saltus, where he will be competing at the Schroders Spring Swimming Championships during the next few days Photo by Akil Simmons

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Published March 21, 2014 at 9:00 am (Updated March 21, 2014 at 1:10 am)

Burch determined to medal

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