TT swimmer Dylan Carter said he and his teammates will have to adopt a never say die attitude, as they start preparations for more competitive events, including the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.
Carter, 22 years old, along with Joshua Romany, 22, Jabari Baptiste, 21, Kael Yorke, 18, and David McLeod, 21, returned home yesterday from the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games with seven medals combined – three gold, one silver and three bronze. The medal tally was TT’s largest ever in swimming at a CAC Games.
Carter had a memorable Games winning gold medals in the men’s 100m freestyle, men’s 50m backstroke and men’s 50m butterfly events, silver in the men’s 50m freestyle and a bronze medal with Yorke, Romany and Baptiste in the men’s 4x100m freestyle relay. McLeod earned bronze in the men’s 50m backstroke and Romany copped bronze in the men’s 50m butterfly.
The five swimmers were greeted by their parents, Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs Shamfa Cudjoe, president of the TT Olympic Committee Brian Lewis and president of the Amateur Swimming Association of TT Wendell Lai Hing.
Carter said he is hoping for good health, as he looks ahead to the 2020 Olympics and other major meets.
“I think once I am healthy I am going to be in the mix so I pray for health. I am getting back to full strength and I am going to be back in full training as soon as possible for World Championships in December,” Carter said.
Carter knows it will take a lot from him and his fellow swimmers to compete at a high level at Olympics but, with hard work and the right attitude, it could happen.
“In terms of these boys they have not only blown away myself, but the coaches and the entire country of TT have been blown away with all of their performances this week. It was a real honour to swim with them. It will take some work from all of us to compete at a high level, but no doubt we can do it if we put our mind to it and never say die.”
On filling the shoes of TT Olympic bronze medallist George Bovell III, Carter said, “I don’t want to see myself as the heir or the next George, I want to see myself as the first Dylan. George has been a great role model for me throughout my career. I had him travelling with me for a couple years before he retired, so I can’t say how much that helped me transition from the junior to senior level. He really is a phenomenal athlete and you have to give jack his jacket.”
About his performance in the men’s 50m backstroke, McLeod said, “Training was pretty rough, but 50m back was always my main event so to come out and actually win a bronze medal was a great achievement for me. To do a personal best was also a great achievement, so I was really grateful to be able to get a bronze medal in the 50 back.”
Minister Cudjoe praised the swimmers saying, “First and foremost let me say congratulations to all our athletes that would have done us so proud and flown the flag of TT so high making everybody proud. You were part of our topic at Cabinet (yesterday) morning and everybody was so excited. I want to say congratulations on behalf of the Ministry of Sport, on behalf of the Cabinet and the Goverment of TT, we are very proud of you.”
Cudjoe also said the Government will reward the CAC medallists later this year. Also congratulating the swimmers on their performances were Lewis and Lai Hing.