Roy Allen Burch Moves to Charlotte to Train

March 7, 2011

One of Bermuda’s top swimmers has moved to Charlotte to train under Coach David Marsh and further his dreams of making the 2012 London Olympics. Roy Allen Burch, who competed in the 2008 Beijing Olympics in the men’s 100 metres freestyle, will join an elite swim program in Charlotte, North Carolina.

In the world of swimming David Marsh is very well known. Mr Marsh is the former men’s and women’s swimming and diving coach at Auburn University and currently the CEO/Head Elite Coach of the Mecklenburg Aquatic Club. At Auburn University Mr Marsh led the men’s team to seven NCAA National Championships and the women’s team to five National Championships.

Mr Burch spoke about his move, training and more:

As the road to the Olympics gets shorter, every moment becomes more valuable. When given the opportunity to train harder and faster, one should hold on tight. The year 2011 has presented some fortunate circumstances for me.

In January, I was eligible to join a Gold Medal swim program in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Swim MAC program is comprised of several teams ranging from age group swimmers to elite. It allows swimmers with potential to gain maximum growth in swimming. They use the latest methods in swim training and are always looking to stay ahead of the curb.

Monday through Saturday I train between three and half to almost six hours per day. Training is very intense, yet specific to my goals of reaching the London Olympic Games. On Wednesdays, Fridays and certain Saturdays I train with the Elite group, which is one of three programs in the whole country.

Under the watch of world-renowned swim coach David Marsh and assistant coach Peter Verhoef we are driven to excellence. On Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays I train with the top senior group, which is coached by Chris Webb. The senior one group sends many swimmers into the top swim colleges around the United States. Prior to coaching at Swim Mac Chris coached two Olympic team trial qualifiers, two world championship trial qualifiers, and over twenty junior national qualifiers.

Elite training has become a very special experience for me. In the sessions where I train with the elite swimmers, I am able to compete against some of the best sprinters in America. The sprint team consists of Cullen Jones, the current American record holder, Josh Schneider, who is ranked second in United States, and Nick Brunelli who has consistently made finals in US Nationals over the past eight years.

Cullen Jones is the face of the “Make A Splash” swim program, which encourages minority children to learn to swim. In 2006, Cullen was the Pan-Pacific 50 freestyle Champion followed by another promising year in 2007 at World Championships where he came in second in the 50 free. Soon thereafter Cullen became a member of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Team. While at the Olympics, his epic American 4×100 freestyle relay captured gold.

This relay was the second of Michael Phelps’ eight gold medals earned in his unprecedented Olympic performance. Josh Schneider is new to the elite scene but has already begun to make his mark. He recently placed third in the 50 freestyle at short-course World Championships breaking the short-course American record.

To train at this level means a lot to me. This is what I have been looking for all along, and now that it is here, I have taken full advantage of the training. When looking from the outside in at the best athletes in the world, it is hard to comprehend how they are able to perform at such high levels, but to finally be a part of a program, gives me insight about high-level training. Each practice our coach challenges us to be better. He constantly reminds us that we must compete against each other every time we push off the wall.

We are teammates, but at the end of the day we are competitors against one another. When competing against the best swimmers in the world, I am pushed to put much more into my workouts. Mentally, I know that if I can maintain the same speed as them, if not beat them, I will surely reach my goals. I am working to reach the level of swimming in which they are currently swimming at, given their solid base and length of time in this program. They are also working to reach a higher level for themselves. The room for improvement is endless, and makes for significant levels of improvement in my swimming.

A typical day will include anywhere between three and six hours of practice. Everyday has an allocated dry land routine that is performed for a few reasons. There are exercises for general strength, muscle activation and core strength. Weight sessions are completed in the early morning practices along with a longer swim in order to maintain the feel of the water.

Once the dry land is completed we begin our swim session. The warm up usually pertains to the main set that will be completed at the end of the workout. We perform several different drills and use different sets of equipment like snorkels, paddles and fins. We then proceed to do water strength exercises to increase power, stability and speed. After that we go on to swim either an anaerobic or aerobic workout to increase the endurance to the muscles we activated.

The distances we swim during an intense cycle of training can surpass seven kilometers. During a rest period we will swim anywhere between three to five kilometers.

The benefit of swimming in a program like this comes full circle for not just myself, but Bermuda. In the short period of time I’ve been training here I have made significant leaps in my swimming. I have reached personal best practice swim times and found myself winning sprints in Elite practices.

Along with learning how a gold medal swim programs develops their swimmers, I learn so much on a daily basis and it makes coming to practice and working hard an enjoyable experience. Every single lap is another lap closer to the dream of once again swimming at the Olympic Games.

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  1. Dee Jetton says:

    Congratulations Coach Marsh! Huntersville Family Fitness & Aquatics welcomes Roy Allen Burch. We look forward to following Roy on his quest to the Olympics Games. We are very proud to host Coach Marsh, and all of his senior and elite athletes at our club.