One Year from Wheelchair to Olympic Cut: Roy Burch Posts ‘B’ 50 Free


In April of 2015, SwimMAC’s Roy-Allan Burch of Bermuda ruptured both of his patellas in a dynamic dryland workout.

The injury left his knees unable to bear any weight, forcing him into a wheelchair so that his tendons could re-bind together. The road to recovery had him move from wheelchair to walker, from walker to crutches, from crutches to more load-bearing activities, and from those into this weekend’s Caribbean Islands Swimming Championships.

Yesterday, in an incredible feat of recovery, Burch posted 22.95 in the lead-off leg of the Bermudan mixed 18 and over 200 free relay, coming in .33 under the FINA ‘B’ standard of 23.05. He was only .68 off the FINA ‘A’ standard.

“I’m really pleased to be back under 23 again,” Burch told SwimSwam. “I knew it was only a matter of time, and I was glad I was able to get it done before qualification ends.”

Fellow 2008 Olympian out of the Caribbean Elvis Burrows of the Bahamas tweeted: “Most impressive swim of 2016 goes to @Roy_Burch. Year ago he was in a wheelchair, last night 22.9 to get his Olympic B cut.”

Burch will take on the individual 50 freestyle this Sunday, where his chief competition for the Caribbean title will be Renzo Tjon-a-Joe of Suriname. Tjon-a-Joe comes into the meet with a 22.30.

Leave a Reply

Notify of

oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
7 years ago

Swam with Roy in college. Truly awesome guy. Couldn’t be more pumped for him!

Nate Boyle
7 years ago

If you haven’t seen a 2x patellar rupture yet – watch just how far he’s made it back.
If you know Roy, he’ll be even faster in Rio. If you don’t know Roy – get to know him…you’ll be glad you did.

7 years ago

Are you sure you don’t mean he ruptured his patellar TENDONS ? The patella is a bone.

Definitely Not Sun Yang
7 years ago

Very happy for you Roy!!!

About Hannah Hecht

Hannah Hecht

Hannah Hecht grew up in Kansas and spent most of her childhood trying to convince coaches to let her swim backstroke in freestyle sets. She took her passion to Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa and swam at NAIA Nationals all four years. After graduating in 2015, she moved to …

Read More »