Swimmer Dylan Carter yesterday restored pride and joy to T&T.
auUnder bright lights and with the world watching, Carter wrote his name in the record books, becoming the first swimmer from this country to win a medal at the Commonwealth Games.
He copped the silver in the Men’s 50 metres Butterfly in 23.67 seconds at the Optus Aquatic Centre in Gold Coast, Australia.
“That is huge, given that this country has had so many talented swimmers such as George (Bovell), I am just so proud of that,” said the 22-year-old, who was pleasantly surprised by the news.
It was quite clear the mood of the opposition: “Get Carter, before Carter gets you”. Only one swimmer could and that was four-time world champion South African Chad Le Clos, who won gold in a time of 23.37.
His countryman Ryan Coetzee bagged bronze in 23.79.
Carter was in lane six and was off to a better start than in his semi-final on Thursday, which augured well but then found him involved in a four-way battle for more than 30 metres with Le Clos in lane four, Australia’s Grant Irvine (lane five) and Coetzee (lane three).
In the last 20 metres, it was clear, that the winner would be either Le Clos or Carter, with the 25-year-old South African, a four-time Olympic medallist, edging out the young T&T swimmer at the end of a jaw-wrenching race.
“Last night (Thursday), I was off, but as soon as I got in and hit that dive, I knew that I was going into to be in the mix, as soon as I hit that wall, I knew I would be in the top three, but second was great,” said Carter.
If you know the Carter family, father Everard and mother Tracy, one can understand what strong family support means.
“I love them to death for all of their support, no matter what, in fact they were probably more nervous than me and I just hope that dad retrieves the TV from the pool after this,” a sincere Carter told Guardian Media.
But Carter was most of all happy for everyone in T&T.
“After so much support coming from everyone after the preliminaries and the semi-finals, I am very happy and wish to thank all of those who supported me and continue to support the team in Australia. My mum put up a message on Facebook and it got so many likes,” he said.
Carter was to dive back into action in the Men’s 100m freestyle last night and once he makes it out of that round, he will race the semi-finals from 7 am (TT time) this morning.
“I have one medal but I want to keep going, to get into another race, take things one at a time. I am coming back for the preliminaries 100m tomorrow and then my focus is to get to the next race, the semi-final, then to the final and then I will think about a medal so the strategy is one swim at a time,” declared a buoyant Carter.
“The good news is that I can sleep tonight, the pressure is off and also it is great for us to get a medal so early, normally it is the last session and especially in swimming because normally it is track.”
Carter, ever the thinker, reflected: “I felt I had a 23.3 coming into the games, coming into this final, the time is right there, just off my personal best, that kind of sticks you, but in these events it is about top three and who gets their hands on the wall.”
A philosophical Carter confessed he has a dream but unlike others, it is a dream with purpose and reasoning.
“My dream is to fulfil my potential, whether it be a Commonwealth medal, an Olympic medal, but to continue to strive to improve, and to just at the end when I look back on my career, know that I achieved all I could,” he said.The former Fatima College student is pleased that he has been able over the years, learn from all his experiences at the youth level in international events.
His message on the night was clear.
“My favourite event is the 50m Butterfly, it is a fun one, and I enjoyed tonight (yesterday) and I have to also thank all my friends, all the boys who give me support back home, Joshua, Mark, Blain and so much others I cannot call out all their names.
“We will have a good lime when I come back home, ‘buss’ up some doubles and maybe go Barbados for some holidays,” said Carter, as he left all of T&T smiling yet again from sports.
T&T men bow out of table tennis competition
In table tennis, T&T’s Men’s team bowed out of the competition when it lost its second match in a row, suffering at the hands of Northern Ireland, 3-1.
Veteran Dexter St Louis was the only one to win a match, defeating Ashley Robinson 5-11, 11-4, 12-10, 11-6.
However, Paul McCrery defeated Yuvraaj Dookram in the singles, Owen Cathcart and Mc Creery won their doubles contest against Aaron Wilson and Dookram in the doubles, before Cathcart returned to defeat St Louis.
This means that T&T was eliminated from the team competition, after two straight losses also, following a 3-0 defeat on Thursday to India.
In squash, both Mandela Patrick (1-3) and Charlotte Knaggs (0-3) failed to win in their Individual Plate’s matches while Kale Wilson progressed via a walkover over Peter Creed.
In cycling, Kwesi Brown was third in heat one, Nicholas Paul was fifth in heat three, Njisane Phillip was sixth in heat four in the Men’s Keirin event. The local trio were eliminated and got a chance to try again to reach the final in the Repecharges. Each one of the three were respectively second in their repecharges, so they did not advance to the last 12 as only the winner moved on.
Next up for the cyclists will be today in the Match Sprint, with a lot expected of Phillip.
In Women’s beach volleyball, T&T pair of Abby Blackman and Rheeza Grant fought bravely but lost 2-0 (21-16, 21-12) to England.
Today, T&T Men’s beach volleyball team of Daynte Stewart and Daneil Williams will get their turn as they battle St Kitts and Nevis.