Dylan Carter ends hectic season at FINA World Champs

Trinidad and Tobago’s Dylan Carter - AP Photo
Trinidad and Tobago’s Dylan Carter - AP Photo

DYLAN Carter climaxes his hectic 2021 season at the 15th FINA World Championships (25 metres) in United Arab Emirates from December 16 to 21.

Carter spearheads a three-member TT team that includes Cherelle Thompson and Nikoli Blackman.

However, after several months of intense pre and post-Olympic competition, the 25-year-old anticipates a much-needed break; but not before he puts it all on the line at Worlds.

At the just-concluded International Swimming League (ISL) in Eindhoven, Netherlands, the two-time Olympian played an integral role in hauling his new London Roar team to a bronze medal finish.

This was Carter’s best team finish at the ISL, having placed fourth two years running with former team LA Current.

“This year was my most successful campaign in the ISL. As a team, I really enjoyed the experience and the culture of London Roar. I thought we had a really good go.

“Finishing third is my highest placing as a team so I’m happy to improve on that although we wanted to contend for the title and at least be in the top two.

“I think the team is really strong. I think if we have all our pieces we are a contending team. I hope we’re back on the row next year and challenging for the title,” he said.

Before November’s event-filled final cycle of ISL racing, Carter and his team also competed for the entire month of September in the preliminary stages in Naples, Italy. In the end, he finished with 23 medals (seven gold, eight silver and eight bronze).

He added, “All in all, it was a great experience and a lot of fun but also really exhausting. It was a hard couple months of racing. It’s more racing than I’ve ever done in my life. It’s an amazing ride and format to competition and I hope it continues.”

Carter said it was “good fun” competing against his ex-LA Current teammates and coach. He was happy to catch up with and race against them, this time, as rivals. Carter enjoyed the change and it motivated him to push harder to try to win against his former charges.

At the Tokyo Games in July/August, Carter competed in four events but was unable to secure any finalist spots. Before the ISL returned in September, he used his time post-Olympics to reset; a move he believes helped him churn out better ISL performances this time around.

“I put in a lot of work from last year training for the Olympics. I made a lot of sacrifices; put a lot of time and energy into myself as an athlete, performance, mental and physical preparation this year.

“Sometimes all that work doesn’t show up when you expect it to, or where you really want it to. I was a bit off at the Olympics but all the work didn’t go down the drain. I just took a couple more months of rest and relaxation.

“I sort of removed some of the stress and pressure that I put on myself to really let all the work I put in this year shine through. I think that was key in my improvements,” he said.

Looking ahead at Worlds, Carter will compete in the men’s 50m butterfly, 100m butterfly and 100m freestyle.

After such a turbulent year of swim meets, Carter confirmed there are some personal time goals he’d like to hit at Worlds. However, he is trying to not be too definitive, stressful or add too much pressure on himself owing to his physical workload.

Carter thinks the ISL served as a good competitive gauge ahead of World Championships.

“I think ISL is the best type of preparation you can possibly get. There’s nothing like race practice. No matter how hard or strong you are mentally there’s no way that you can push yourself to the absolute limit in a pool alone with you and your coach.

“You’re never going to get that absolute emptying of the tank as you would in a race when there’s team points and prize money on the line, up against the best in the world in a world-class facility, people in the crowd and teammates on the deck.

“Doing that week-in week-out helps you push to another level and brings you into a level of fitness that it’s hard to find through just training. The consistent racing is going to pay off really well after these next couple weeks of rest and sharpening into Worlds,” he said.

After this meet, Carter wants to take a couple of weeks off to recuperate. According to how he feels physically and mentally in the new year, he will consider his options regarding the FINA Long Course World Championships in May.

Carter concluded, “I have not made any plans for 2022 yet. I need a big break. I think I need at least a couple weeks off after World Champs. I’ll get back into training in January and we’ll see how I’m feeling about the World Long Course Champs in May.

“Maybe around February or March I’ll see how I’m feeling and training and if I feel like I’m ready to go back to another Worlds in May.

The schedule is a bit weird because this Short Course Worlds is the postponed one from last year so that’s why we have so many World Champs back to back.”


"Dylan Carter ends hectic season at FINA World Champs"

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