2021 CENTRAL AMERICAN & CARIBBEAN MALE SWIMMER OF THE YEAR: DYLAN CARTER, TRINIDAD & TOBAGO
Dylan Carter, one of Trinidad & Tobago’s most accomplished swimmers in history, wins the 2021 Swammy Award for the best male swimmer from Central America and the Caribbean. This is Carter’s third time to win the award and second-consecutive award in this category.
Carter represented Trinidad & Tobago at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games where he swam four events, including the 50 freestyle, 100 freestyle, 100 backstroke, and 100 butterfly. Carter placed 33rd, 22nd, 32nd, and 33rd, respectively, in each race. Carter lowered his own National Record in the 100 butterfly with a 52.36 in the prelims missed and only missed his own National Record in the 100 freestyle by 0.14, touching in 48.66.
Carter was a huge asset to the London Roar during the 2021 ISL season, and lowered multiple of his own National Records throughout the season. Carter lowered the 100 freestyle National Record to a 46.39 leading off one of the London Roar’s 4 x 100 freestyle relays during the playoffs in Eindhoven. Carter also lowered the 50 butterfly National Record twice during the 2021 ISL season.
Carter concluded 2021 at the FINA World Championships in Abu Dhabi, posting new National Records in the 50 butterfly (21.98) and 100 butterfly (49.87). Carter won the silver medal in the 50 butterfly behind co-World Record holder Nicholas Santos, becoming the 6th-fastest performer all-time in the event, and defeating the other co-World Record holder in the 50 fly, Szebasztian Szabo. Carter actually lowered the National Record twice in the 50 fly in Abu Dhabi, first in the semifinals with a 22.18 and then in the finals with his 21.98. Carter placed 9th in the semifinals of the 100 butterfly and did not advance to the final, though he lowered the National Record twice in the same day: first in the prelims Carter posted a 50.22, and then in the semifinals he put up a 49.87.
- Angel Martinez, Mexico: Martinez had a huge year, lowering numerous National Records in both long and short course pools. Martinez’s first NR of 2021 came in the 200 IM at the 2021 Longhorn Elite Invite with a 1:59.78 in the 200 IM. Martinez went on to swim the 200 IM at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, but did not advance beyond the prelims. Martinez joined the Cali Condors for the 2021 ISL season, where he wreaked havoc on Mexico’s National Records in the short course meters pool. Martinez began the 2021 ISL season by taking nearly 4 seconds off the Mexican National Record in the 200 IM in Match 2–a mark that had stood since 2009–to a 1:54.87. In Match 4, Martinez lowered National Records in both the 200 butterfly and the 100 freestyle. During the course of the 2021 ISL season, Martinez broke the Mexican National Records in 6 events: the 100 freestyle, 100 backstroke, 50 butterfly, 100 butterfly, 200 butterfly, and 100 IM. In total, Martinez broke 15 Mexican National Records in the SCM pool during the 2021 ISL season (including one tie). So, with so much success, why doesn’t Martinez win CAC Male Swimmer of the Year for 2021? Simply, because in major international competition, namely the Olympic Games and the FINA World Championships, Carter placed higher.
- Yeziel Morales, Puerto Rico: Morales swept the men’s backstroke events at the 2021 CCCAN Games, setting a new National Record in the 50 backstroke in the process. Morales also reset the 100 and 200 backstroke National Records, though at different meets. First, in March at the South American Championships, Morales put up a 1:59.38 in the 200 back to win the race. Morales also won the 100 backstroke in Buenos Aires in a time of 55.74. In June at the 48th International Swimming Meet Ravne in Slovenia, Morales lowered the Puerto Rican National Record in the 100 backstroke to a 54.89. In October, Morales broke 4 more National Records at the Puerto Rican International Championships (SCM). These records include the 50 backstroke (24.06), 100 backstroke (51.81), 200 backstroke (1:52.16), and the 100 IM (53.86).
- Jarod Arroyo, Puerto Rico: Arroyo broke the 200 and 400 IM Puerto Rican National Records in LCM, taking the former at the 2021 CCCAN Games, and the latter at the Puerto Rican International Open. Arroyo began CCCAN with a new National Record in the 200 IM, posting a 2:00.61 in the heats, and that evening won the 200 IM but just missed his new record, posting a 2:00.95. Arroyo also won the 400 IM at the CCCAN Games, though he barely missed his own National Record in that event. Arroyo finished the year with another National Record in the 400 SCM IM at the 2021 FINA World Championships, putting up a 4:10.40, though he did not advance to the finals.
- Hector Ruvalcaba, Mexico: Ruvalcaba crushed the Mexican National Record in the 200 LCM butterfly at the 2021 Fran Crippen Swim Meet of Champions, posting a 1:56.89. Ruvalcaba competed for the LA Current during the 2021 ISL season, swimming in the regular season in Naples, the playoffs in Eindhoven, and the finals, also in Eindhoven. During the playoffs, Ruvalcaba posted a 4:11.25 in the 400 IM, shaving nearly 2 seconds from Ricardo Vargas‘ 2016 record. Ruvalcaba also competed at the 2021 FINA World Championships in Abu Dhabi, lowering his month-old National Record in the 400 IM in the preliminary heats with a 4:10.83.
- 2014 Swammy – George Bovell, Trinidad & Tobago
- 2015 Swammy – (Vacant – combined South American & CAC Award, Thiago Pereira of Brazil won)
- 2016 Swammy – Marcelo Acosta, El Salvador
- 2017 Swammy – Mauro Castillo-Luna, Mexico
- 2018 Swammy – Dylan Carter, Trinidad & Tobago
- 2019 Swammy – Ricardo Vargas, Mexico
- 2020 Swammy –Dylan Carter, Trinidad & Tobago
- 2021 Swammy — Dylan Carter, Trinidad & Tobago