Carter delivers Worlds medal to parents for Christmas
“This one is for my parents who have been my endless support through thick and thin.”
Team TTO swimmer Dylan Carter did not delay in expressing his gratitude to his parents Everard and Tracy Carter after his historic silver medal performance at the FINA World Short Course (25 metres) Swimming Championships in Abu Dhabi yesterday.
The 25-year-old’s effort in the men’s 50m butterfly was the best showing by a TTO swimmer at the World Championship level and it was this country’s third medal (two bronze, one silver) in the history of the World Short Course. TTO’s most heralded swimmer George Bovell won bronze in the 100m individual medley (IM) at the 2012 edition in Istanbul, Turkey, while Carter won bronze in the 50m butterfly at the last edition in Hangzhou, China in 2018.
Ever since Carter transferred from water polo to the sport of swimming at the age of 12, his parents have always been his biggest cheerleaders. After his disappointing near-miss in the 100m butterfly when he narrowly failed to advance to the final, placing ninth overall and falling short by a few hundredths of a second, they offered words of encouragement as Carter promised to make amends for that shortcoming.
Yesterday was no different as the pair took in the action from a livestream of the event and celebrated after their son posted a 21.98-second effort, a time that is a new personal best, a new national mark and one that makes him the first TTO swimmer to dip under the 22-second barrier in the event.
And the former University of Southern California student, who broke his own national mark of 22.18 in the semi-finals, fulfilled his promise.
“Yes, boy! That’s what we talking ‘bout, Dylan! That’s what we talking ‘bout!” Everard screamed ecstatically at the television screen.
“He got silver !...You did it! Whoa! Thank you , father, thank you!,” Tracy yelled simultaneously.
Probably a fingernail length separated Carter from the gold that went to no less than the joint world record-holder for the event, Nicholas Santos (21.93), a man who Carter would have gauged during his brief training stint with the Brazilian national team in Dubai, days prior to the start of the Worlds.
But for a split-second before the times registered on the electronic scoreboard overhanging the Etihad Arena 25m pool, Carter would have thought he had gotten his hand to the wall first.
“(I) connected well with it. I touched the wall and thought I won it! Still it’s a really fast time and a world champs silver medal, so I really can’t complain,” Carter said about the effort that also makes him the sixth fastest swimmer all-time in the event.
When the gun went off for the final, Carter didn’t seem to get his usual speedy start and breakout over the first 15 metres, but the wily and experienced sprinter clawed his way back to third at the 25-metre mark behind Santos and 100m butterfly champion from Saturday, Italy’s Matteo Rivolta.
Carter exploded off the wall with his underwater butterfly kicks in streamlined position, before emerging even further ahead of co-world-record holder Szebasztian Szabo from Hungary and edging past Rivolta at the 45-metre mark before training his sights on Santos. Carter touched over the surface of the water at the wall while Santos touched under.
At the medal ceremony, Carter saluted his team-mates, including Nikoli Blackman and Cherelle Thompson in the stands, from the podium.
CONGRATULATIONS POUR IN
Here in T&T, congratulations came from other sports stakeholders.
Minister of Sport and Community Development Shamfa Cudjoe said: “Carter’s stellar performances and success at the championships were phenomenal. It is a testament of resilience, hard work and determination”.
She continued: “Despite challenges posed by the pandemic, our sportsmen and sportswomen continue to be committed and relentless in their pursuit of excellence. They have given us a national record-breaking year in sport. The Government of Trinidad and Tobago continues to make significant investments in supporting our athletes, developing our sporting infrastructure and improving our technical capacity.”
Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee president Brian Lewis said the feat was a credit also to Carter’s team around him, including coach Dexter Browne and the coaches at the International Swimming League (ISL) who have worked with him.
“It shows his resilience and tenacity that he has bounced (back) at the World Championship level,” Lewis said. ”It also shows he has benefited from the platform of Olympics, and that characteristic is always an important asset...It is always easy to be deflated in the face of disappointment (Tokyo 2020 when he placed 23rd in the 100m free). But he has displayed necessary strength of character.”
Meanwhile, Thompson finished eighth and last out of lane zero in heat eight of 11, ending 37th overall out of 89 swimmers in the women’s 50m freestyle. The 29-year-old clocked 25.42 seconds, way off her own 2019 national record of 24.89.
And the youngest member of the three-swimmer squad, 16-year-old Nikolai Blackman closed off his Worlds campaign in 28th position out of 29, stopping the clock in 16:34.53.
The swimmers are scheduled to return home tomorrow.