AFTER completing a hectic six-week competitive campaign at the International Swimming League (ISL) in Hungary, Olympic-bound swimmer (100m freestyle) Dylan Carter returns to TT on Thursday.

Carter will spend seven days in quarantine and will be tested for covid19. Once he returns a negative result, the national swimmer will be allowed to head home to his family.

The in-form athlete anticipates his arrival to TT having spent over a year in the US, owing to the pandemic.

Carter spent the last two days in Florida finalising his travel documents and securing a mandatory covid19 test to guarantee his entry into TT. The 24-year-old applied for his travel exemptions several months ago and was able to attain such.

He represented Los Angeles Current (LAC) at the just concluded ISL and splashed to double-gold, double-silver and a bronze while also racking up several personal and season-best times.

Carter is eager to come home but a bit nervous to enter seven days quarantine.

“I haven’t seen my family all year and I’m looking forward to it. It’s going to be emotional. However, I wish I could stay in the water during my seven-day quarantine because it might keep me sane,” he said.

Over the past 12 months, the TT swimmer experienced a roller coaster of emotions dealing with the postponement of the 2020 Olympic Games. From heading to training before 5 am, putting in hours of work and years of sacrifice, Carter said staying motivated was his biggest challenge.

“I’ve been training since my childhood. This (Olympics) has been something I’ve been working towards my whole life. When it was postponed, a lot of athletes struggled with motivation.

“That news (postponement) really threw me off in March. Getting over that and then refocusing for the ISL, which we still weren’t even sure was going to happen, I had to refocus,” he added.

Before the ISL, training pools were shut down in the US. Carter and his team-mates were allowed to train in San Diego in a 22m backyard pool owned by a friend of the team’s coach.

They trained three times a week for 40 minutes each day, for two months. As compared to the squad’s original training regime of a couple hours daily, these sessions were very limited but, according to Carter, it aided the team in realising the importance of rest.

“It was really limited but we made it work. We were doing half as much as we normally do. But it was more than enough to improve once you do it in a focused, purposeful way and in a smart timeframe. This was a wake-up call for us as well.

“Sometimes, as athletes, we get caught up in doing a lot. I think the rest benefitted a lot of people and the ISL was really fast this year. Overall, I’m super satisfied to achieve some personal best times. The relays were fun and the meet was at a super high level,” he said.

Carter will make his second appearance at an Olympic Games in 2021 having competed at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro edition.

Having conquered the many emotions surrounding the Games’ postponement, Carter now feels rejuvenated. He welcomes the Tokyo schedule shift and believes the extra time provided to train was indeed a blessing in disguise.

“At this time last year, the ISL season one was completed. If I could compare myself from the end of 2019 to the end of 2020, I’m way more confident to enter the Olympics than I was last year.

“Off the back of these performances over the past six weeks, the fourth-place finish in the final (100m freestyle), my world rankings are a lot better this year and my Olympic event is a lot stronger. I’m feeling really confident, more than I’ve ever felt, and I anticipate getting into the long course pool,” he concluded.