I am a professional swimmer
• Can you talk a little about your background and how you ended up where you are today?
In my early life my mother felt that learning to swim was very important for me. Since Bermuda is surrounded closely by water it began as a safety measure against drowning. Once I reached the age of 5 I was able to swim much further than any of the other kids my age, so I began club swimming. I improved quickly and earned my first qualification to compete Internationally at 9. I then went on to compete in numerous Caribbean and Central American Championships through my early and late teens. I attended a The Peddie School, a predatory institute which showed me what I could gain for myself with hard work and consistency. I then went on to compete in college where I swam in the NCAA Championships and earned myself a place at the 2007 World Championships. Racing in the World Championships earned me a qualification in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Since I swam at those games I had learned there was so much more to achieve physically and mentally and I have pursued excellence in sport with more purpose since those Games.
• What can you tell us about your recent injury and progress so far?
There is never a good time to get injured and my injury happened when I had really tapped into what I was capable of as an athlete. I suffered a Bi-lateral patella tendon rupture. Those tendons are below the knee cap which help hold them in place. Since both tendons ruptured I was left in serious pain and my knee caps sitting on top of my quad muscle. I required emergency surgery to repair them both which ended up in a 3 day hospital stay. The surgery was successful but I was not allowed to bear any weight on my feet, so I was restricted to a wheel chair for nearly 3 months.
My progress is going very well and I have used many methods of therapy to aid my recovery. Outside of my physical therapy I also perform Pilates, have Muscle Activation Therapy and personal strength training. • Can you tell us your thoughts on Bermuda and how it differs from other countries you’ve visited?
I love Bermuda with all my heart. Our country is so beautiful and exotic. I believe that we have a lot of pride as a people but many of us could use more worldly exposure. There are many Bermudians out in the world learning more about themselves and what they are capable of as Bermudians but I find that Bermudians can be made to feel small because we come from a small place. Bermuda has had a huge impact on the world with its mysteries of the Triangle, its positioning for the British and Americans during war time but most of all its beauty. I find we share many of the same problems that most of the world deals with but since we are on such a small scale, if the majority is swayed in the right direction we can make faster changes.
• Can you give us a brief walk through of your day to day?
My days usually start at 6.30 to begin training at 7.30. We perform dry land exercises for an hour and then I swam for 2hrs. After swimming I either lift weights or attend Pilates depending on what day. I usually finish training around 12 for the morning. Later in the season I would swim again in the afternoon for 2hrs with some light abs and injury prevention exercises prior to the swim. So on any given day i train for 4-6 hours not including recovery time. When Im not training Im usually home resting and spending time with family.
• What can you tell us of some of the challenges you had to get started and recognized in your chosen career?
Easily the most difficult part is securing funding. Swimming doesn’t have a professional setup like the NBA, NFL or MLB so even if i can secure a spot on the few professional teams around the world I have to be able to find my own way of funding. It took many years to be able to gain the funding that I have now but I have shown that I am a hard diligent worker and that I can get the needed results to represent Bermuda on the biggest stages.
When I first started I have little to no money which made it difficult to do all the things I had learned to make me a better athlete. I was only getting small portion of what it took to be a real professional. I could attend all the practices and work as hard as possible but without proper funds I didn’t have sufficient weight training, no money for supplements and it was difficult to take care of my body with massages etc. to recover.
• For someone who is interested in going into a profession like yours, can you tell us of what you think would be essential attributes, skills etc?
To put it simply I believe the most important things are paying attention to the details of what you are working to accomplish. Don’t be afraid to try something new. Work hard and smart. Also respect your sport. Don’t allow others to tell you what you can and can’t do. Be consistent with things that work for you and remember that getting better doesn’t always mean adding new things, it can also mean taking things away that don’t make you better.
• What are some of the best things you like about Bermuda?
I love Bermuda food, I never get tired of it. I always enjoy the beach. I truly enjoy the sound of the night.
• How much traveling do you actually do per year, and how often do you visit back to Bermuda?
I travel once a month, sometimes twice to different competitions around the US or the World. I try to stay close as longer trips become more costly. I visit Bermuda 2-3 times a year depending on my schedule. Its not easy to maintain my routine in Bermuda so visits are usually shorter to compete or for vacation.
• What are the some of your career highlights?
Competing in the 2008 & 2012 Olympics are surely my biggest highlights. Ive also competed in 4 World Championships, 3 Commonwealth Games and 2 Pan American Games.
• What are your personal goals and ambitions?
I usually don’t share my personal goals or ambitions with anyone. I prefer not to hear peoples opinions on what I choose for my life and how I am pursuing it unless it becomes a danger to me. I can say that I want to be the best Roy Burch possible. So whatever Im doing I want to give it 100%.
• How would you encourage more people to get out there to achieve their dreams and aspirations?
I would tell people that you are just as likely to fail at something you don’t like so get out there and do what you love. Doing what you love doesn’t always mean glitz and glamour but there is a deeper personal satisfaction that leaves you feeling good about how you spent your time each day.
• What are some things that would always draw you back to Bermuda?
Mainly family and friends. Many of my oldest friends still live on the island and its always great to reconnect and talk about the old days growing up on the island, but also find out about how they are doing now.
• What is next for Roy Burch?
I am currently exploring my options. My degree is in Business Management/Marketing so if I leave the sport for the corporate scene then my passion is marketing. I could also stay in the sport and get involved in coaching. Right now most of my focus goes into competing at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games next summer.
• Where can those interested keep up to date with you?
@roy_burch – Instagram and Twitter
Roy-Allan Burch – Facebook Athlete Page
• Describe Bermuda in three words.
Beauty Beyond Belief