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Burch upbeat despite running out of time

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Still some work to do: Roberto Gomez, from Venezuela, swam a 54.40 in the 100 butterfly at the national championships. He needs to swim 54.19 to qualify for the Rio Olympics (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Roy-Allan Burch and Madelyn Moore remained upbeat despite falling short of reaching the Olympic qualifying standard on day two of the Validus Bermuda National Championships at the National Aquatics Centre.

The two swimmers are bidding to reach the qualifying B standard in the men’s and women’s 50 metre freestyle, a mark which ultimately proved beyond their reach in the pool last night.

Both finished well outside of the mark competing alongside each other in a mixed time trial, with Burch touching the pad in 23.50secs in his first attempt at the championships, and Moore in 26.58 in what was her second attempt in as many days.

The qualifying B standard for the men’s 50 free is 23.05 and the women’s 26.17.

“It’s all about execution and I just lost my legs towards the end of that swim,” Burch said. “Hopefully that was from a really long day of travel yesterday [Thursday] and if it was that won’t happen on Sunday, I will have it all sorted out by then.”

The SwimMac Carolina swimmer competed at the Arena Pro Series meet in Charlotte last weekend where he posted a time of 23.34, which put him on the cusp of the B standard.

“I had a good swim last weekend and it was just about getting my mind right and being as focused as I could and it went well,” Burch said. “I feel pretty good and I just need to get a little better.”

The two-times Olympian has made a miraculous recovery since rupturing both his patella tendons after falling during a training session last year.

“It is a lot at stake [Olympic qualification] but at the end of the day I have to be happy where I am at and what I have overcome,” Burch said. “I really wasn’t supposed to be able to do what I can do now, and so I am happy with everything and just have to do the best I can with the cards I have been dealt.

“I am not bent out of shape about best swims now. I am just happy to be able to do what I can and help represent Bermuda the best way I can, and show that you can overcome adversity and give these kids less of an excuse not to put their best foot forward.”

Like Burch, Moore also faded down the final stretch, a kink she now intends to iron out before she resumes her qualifying bid in the 50 free tomorrow.

“My start was better this time but I died out the last 15 metres, so that is something I need to work on through this weekend,” Moore, who swam a personal best time of 26.36 in her first qualifying attempt the previous day, said.

“I have been working really hard even though I have been trying to balance my exams and stuff. I have definitely put in the work, and so I am hoping it’s going to show on Sunday.”

Rebecca Heyliger is the first Bermudian swimmer to have reached the Olympic qualifying B standard, a feat she achieved in the 50 free on the opening day of the championships.

The 23-year-old finished in a time of 26.13secs, four hundredths of a second faster than the B standard.

Heyliger’s time is a personal best and faster than her national record of 26.58, although it will not stand as she was competing in a time-trial and not a race.

Meanwhile, Elijah Daley continued his assault on the record books last night.

A day after setting a new record in the boys 9-10 400 freestyle, the promising swimmer set new records in the 200 metre freestyle (2:46.53) and 50 metre butterfly (33:78). Sam Williamson’s time of 5:44.45 in the boys 11-12 individual medley was also a new record.

The championships continue today, beginning at 8.30am, and run through the weekend.

Chasing a dream: Burch has a couple of chances left to qualify for the Olympic Games (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
Split seconds: Burch dives into the pool at the National Aquatics Centre Photograph by Blaire Simmons