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New role for Burch poolside

Coach Burch: the Bermuda swimmer is moving into the next phase of his career (File photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Roy-Allan Burch is looking forward to his new role as the head coach of Lake Norman Charter School’s swimming teams.

The two-times Bermuda Olympian is in charge of the North Carolina college preparatory school’s boys and girls varsity teams for the next season, which runs from October 31 to February 11.

“I’ve been looking to transition from athlete to something else and this opportunity came along,” Burch said.

“There was an assistant job available at another charter school and then this head coaching job was made available. I knew the head coach prior, somebody who has been with SwimMac Carolina as a Masters coach. I spoke to him briefly about the job and he said the kids and programme is really nice.

“It’s not a super-aggressive training schedule, so it was a good fit trying to start getting into a coaching career.

“It’s not like a full-time job, so I’m still training and it fits nicely into my schedule.

“I still have to get my work in for my own performance. I’ll be able to do that and take care of the team at the same time.”

Burch hopes to enhance the school’s swimming programme as well as his coaching skills.

“It would be nice to be able to grow the programme and just get more experience in as a coach,” he said.

“I’ve done a lot of coaching but not with the same group, so it will be nice to be consistent with one group of kids and, depending on how long I do, get a freshman kid and bring him along to high school.

“It will be interesting for me to look at that process and see what I can put into the kids and how they benefit from the learning curve.

“The season doesn’t start until October 31 so we will have trials and then I’ll pick the team and move forward from there.”

Lake Norman Charter School made the announcement of Burch’s appointment this week on Twitter, saying: “We are pleased to announce the hiring of Olympian Roy Burch to serve as Varsity Swim [Boys & Girls] Head Coach.”

Burch fell agonisingly short in his qualifying bid for last month’s Olympic Games in Rio after a courageous comeback from a horrific training accident.

He made a miraculous recovery from a career-threatening injury, having ruptured both his patella tendons while playing basketball in March last year, but was unable to hit the A standard in the 50 metres freestyle.

The 30-year-old has qualified for next year’s Fina World Championships in Budapest, as well as inaugural World Short Course Championships in Windsor, Ontario, in December.

“I’ve qualified for World Championships next year so right now I’m just getting myself going again,” Burch said.

“It’s just about trying to get through to January and see what’s happening with my pro team [SwimMac Carolina] as they get everything set back up to work towards another Olympics.

“I can’t say I am going to commit. But I can do it and want to train for the Tokyo Olympics and have the resources out here to do so.

“I may just look at things each year, see how I feel, see where the results are going and see where the support is at.

“The support is usually the number one thing. I want to be competitive and continue to bring up the standards of swimming in Bermuda while I bring the times down.”