Olympic-bound swimmer Dylan Carter plans to use his TT Olympic Committee (TTOC) Sportsman of the Year award as added motivation towards his hectic 2021 campaign.
The 24-year old swimmer earned the prestigious accolade for the first time in his pro career, while fellow Olympic debutant and national cyclist Teniel Campbell captured the Sportswoman of the Year award for the second consecutive year.
Carter said, “It really is an honour to receive this award from the TTOC. I was surprised but I’m pleased to join some prestigious company with this award to my name.
“It’s a nice piece of encouragement that I’m heading in the right direction to keep on doing what I’m doing and good things will come.”
This year’s awards was themed around resilience, an asset most professional athletes had to ensure they carried over the past nine months, owing to the pandemic and its negative repercussions on sport.
Carter agreed with the event’s theme and, like most athletes, dug deep to stay motivated and continue pushing amid the global health crisis.
“Covid19 is everywhere so I can’t say my draw is harder than anybody. What is resilience but doing your best when things don’t go according to plan? This year nothing went according to plan, and all you can control is how you respond. So more of the same in the new year.”
Carter had a good year training with his Los Angeles Current team and climaxed the shortened season with several podium and personal best performances at the International Swimming League in Hungary in the latter half of 2020.
Looking ahead to the new but uncertain season, Carter said he is gearing up for another tough year. Owing to the pandemic and the US’s inability to limit its spread, he believes North America will prioritise its own athletes.
Carter is one of 12 international pro swimmers who works with 2016 US Olympic head coach David Marsh. But he's unsure if he will be able to return to the US, since covid19 continues to be a major detractor.
“I’m still looking into flights and I’m also monitoring the situation in the US. My training base is in Southern California and that's presently the epicentre of covid19 right now. I don’t know how it’s going to work.,,,they have zero Intensive Care Unit capacity out there.
"So I have to just wait and see if I should head out in January. I imagine they’re (US) are going to try to keep things (training/competition) pretty small.”
Undeterred, Carter has plans to use the Mare Nostrum swim tour in May/June as his big Olympic prep event. The meet splashes off in Monaco, Barcelona, Spain, and Canet, France, and will feature an array of European and non-American top swimmers also preparing for the Tokyo Games.
When Carter returned to TT, in early December, after six weeks of intense competition in Budapest, he spent over seven days in quarantine. He was then allowed to head home after a negative covid19 test.
Since his release, the freestyle champion has been training at the National Aquatic Centre in Couva and at the Marlin Swim Club pool at St Anthony’s College.
“I was originally in Couva three times a week and I’m keeping my toes wet keeping active in the pool. Since about Christmas Eve, I’ve been back at my regular schedule. I trained Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day as usual but I took Sunday off...
"My dad comes into the pool with me and helps me out. For the most part, as I’m home, I’m pretty much on my own.
“However, I have always been motivated. TTOC’s award is not new motivation but something that will encourage and help me carry on.”