TOP Trinidad and Tobago swimmer Dylan Carter departs home shores today en route through Miami to a training camp in Tenerife, Spain, followed by a three-day stop in Nice, France, for competition, before making tentative plans to return to his San Diego, California base, in mid-February.
Because of state-wide lockdowns in California imposed by Governor Gavin Newsom, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2019 Pan American Games bronze medallist is leaving himself some wiggle room in terms of committing to California as his ground zero for his preparation for the July 23-August 8 Tokyo2020 Olympics.
“Training-wise, I am loosely planning to be back in California training with my group, but things could always change depending on the situation in California,” Carter explained. “So I am just trying to be flexible and find somewhere where I can safely be training and working towards my goals. But I think the upside is it keeps you really fresh and it keeps you on your toes so, at this point, I am grateful for whatever we get because I have already had the Olympics taken away from me (2020) once.”
Home since November 26 when he immediately served a mandatory 14-day quarantine period -- split evenly between Kapok Hotel and his home, Carter resumed a scaled-down three-day-a-week training schedule at the National Aquatic Centre (NAC) and participated in the Amateur Swimming Association of Trinidad and Tobago (ASATT) Short Course time-trial on December 18 (50m freestyle, 21.36 seconds).
The 24-year-old University of Southern California (USC) graduate then opted out of the December 21 ASATT Long Course time-trial, choosing to spend time with his family at a popular North coast location.
Due to his exploits at the International Swimming League (ISL), Carter was named the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC’s) Sportsman of the Year, the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Male Swimmer of the Year by popular USA aquatic website SwimSwam, and the Trinidad Express Individual of the Year Youth awardee.
Carter heads to Miami, Florida, for one week before he jets out to Tenerife, Spain, for a 2 1/2-week training camp that concludes on February 3. Then, the 2018 Commonwealth Games silver medallist heads across to Nice, France, for a February 5-7 competition. He then returns to California to continue his preparations in earnest for the re-scheduled Tokyo Olympics.
Carter says he is entering this next phase of his training with fresh enthusiasm. “I fell bright-eyed and bushy-tailed,” Carter said. “I took a good little bit of rest when I first got home -- it was built-in with the quarantine...I got going a bit harder on Christmas Eve.”
He continued: “Since then I have been building back to more regular training and now I feel really excited especially on the eve of this training camp and maybe looking forward to one or two competitions the next coming months. So I think it is all going to happen pretty fast between now and the Olympics and I am feeling pretty fresh and ready for all of it.”
That means keeping an open-mind bout training opportunities and possible participation in the Mare Nostrum tour in Europe in May and June “to get proper racing in” ahead of the Olympics.
What is a near certainty is the 2019 CAC Games five-time medallist not returning home to T&T before the Japan assignment. In major part because Carter foresees a protraction of the country’s closed-borders and travel restrictions this year.
“That is a sacrifice that I knew that I was going to have to make and a sacrifice I was planning on making, and which I made even last year, when I left home after Christmas 2019,” Carter related.
He added: “I knew that I would more or less be training and competing abroad until after the Olympics so nothing new there...if I am really lucky, maybe my parents could make a visit if the border situation improves, if the vaccine works out etc. Other than that, I have a couple of siblings in the USA that I would be in touch with them if I need that dose of family.”