T&T Olympic swimmer Dylan Carter says he is loving life with new team, the London Roar in the third season of the International Swimming League.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the ISL featuring ten teams have opted to contest their first ten Match Days at the Felice Scandone Swimming Pool in Naples, Italy with the final week of competition set for this weekend.
On Sunday last competing in Match Day Eight, Carter swam to his first individual and third gold medal of the ISL overall for his new club, London Roar when he won the men’s 50m butterfly in 22.40 seconds beating Energy Standard’s Ben Proud (22.47), and Tokyo Frog Kings’ Takeshi Kawamoto (22.59) into second and third spots respectively.
And in the all-important men’s 50m butterfly Skins Race, Carter reached the four-man semifinal before being eliminated with the top two advancing to the final.
In the eight-man 50m butterfly Skins opening heat, Kawamoto won in 22.53, with LA Current’s Tom Shields and Carter joint second in 22.55 while Proud was the fourth semifinalist in 22.74.
In the semifinals, Shields (23.03) was first to the wall with Kawamoto second in 23.34 while Carter 23.47 and Proud (23.86) missed out on the final. And in the final, Shields won in 23.46 with Kawamoto, second in 23.89.
A day earlier, Carter was the lone swimmer to go under 46 seconds (45.91) as he teamed up with Australian standout, Kyle Chalmers (46.13 seconds), Japan’s Katsumi Nakamura (46.28), and England's Edward Mildred (47.62) to claim the top spot in the 4x100m freestyle relay in three minutes, 05.84 seconds with Energy Standard second in 3:06.55, and his former team, LA Current, third in 3:06.82.
Carter also contested the men’s 50m backstroke but ended in the sixth spot in 23.81 seconds.
On Match Day Six (September 11 and 12), Carter won a gold and silver medal.
A University of Southern California graduate, Carter got silver in the men’s 50m butterfly in 22.42, while he captured gold with the men’s 4x100m freestyle relay quartet in 3:05.05 minutes.
He also placed fifth as part of the 4x100m medley relay team in 3:25.37 and sixth in the 50m freestyle Skins in 21.50.
When the ISL swam off earlier this month, Carter won a silver and bronze medal on Match Day Three (September 2 and 3).
He got bronze in the 50m butterfly in 22.62 while he swam the joint-fastest leg of 46.37 in picking up silver as part of the 4x100m freestyle relay quartet who clocked 3:07.62.
And in his other events, he was fourth in the men’s 50m freestyle in 21.46 while in the 50m freestyle Skins he was sixth in 22.75.
Commenting on start with new club in the ISL, Carter speaking with Guardian Media Sports said he has been enjoying the team atmosphere and team culture a little better than at his previous stint with LA Current.
Speaking to Guardian Media Sports on Monday, Carter said, “It’s a largely commonwealth team as we have a lot of Brits, Aussies as well as Jamaican Alia Atkinson and myself.
“So it’s a more eclectic group and I just feel like I fit in better with this group of swimmers and the coaches maybe understand me a bit more than versus my stint with LA Current.”
Admitting that he and the other swimmers are feeling less pressured as compared to the lead up and during the Tokyo Olympic Games Carter said, “I think as well post Olympics it’s a bit of sort of feeling that we are here to enjoy ourselves and everybody is more or less under no pressure.”
“Some people are coming off of time off after the Olympics and some aren’t as well, so it’s a little more laid back environment that has been conducive to some fast swimming.”
With regards to moving from the “Olympic bubble” to another in the ISL, Carter said,” Tokyo was a real lock down and we couldn’t really get out at all .”
He added, “It was a different experience as obviously there were a lot of other athletes in the village who you can kind of mix and mingle with in the village at meals and stuff within the Games Village with the precautions and plexi-glass between. So that kind of made it sustainable for the couple of weeks we were there as you could have seen other people within the village.
“Then coming here to Naples we are being tested every three days for the coronavirus but we are allowed to get out and about in the town a little bit more like restaurants and stuff and most of the swimmers in the league are vaccinated so its really not to strict of a bubble at all.
There is testing and isolation for anybody who test positive and fortunately there haven’t been too many positive tests, so I have been able to enjoy Naples a little bit and to get out to Capri and stuff.
The 26-year-old Carter who admitted to being fully vaccinated said he is very pleased with his form so far in the ISL which has seen him captured three gold medals, two of which came via relays as well as three other medals to take his tally to six so far.
He said, “It’s been great because I think I was coming through kind of a tough patch in terms of form over the past six months.
“I was a little bit unhappy with my coaching situation and my living situation in San Diego, but I think that after Tokyo I made the move and I left where I was and now I feel a lot happier and comfortable since I have left there and we are now seeing those performances,
So it’s nice to be on the winning end to get my first individual ISL win on Sunday last, It was really fun for me so I can check that box and move on now and hopefully there is more to come.
Looking ahead to his team’s final Match Day before the playoffs, Carter said, “Our team is really strong and we are pretty much set for the playoffs but one of our guys Tipple Morimoto actually left today (Monday) to return to Japan so we are now one man lighter and I may more than likely be swimming a couple more different events.
He added, "Usually I am in the freestyle relay but in this last match day I may experiment with competing in some more events, because there is not too much pressure on us going into the final match day.
But for the playoffs in Eindhoven, Holland in November we are going to come out swinging for sure.
At the conclusion of last Sunday's Match Day Eight, defending champions Cali Condors lead the preliminary rounds with 15 of a possible 16 points with their lone defeat coming at the hands of Carter and the London Roar on Match Day Six.
The Energy Standard is now second with 12 points and a Match Day left, while LA Current also ended their preliminary round involvement of four Match Day with 11, points, one ahead of the London Roar who have tallied ten points, the same as Toronto Titans with one Match Day left for each club.
Host club Aqua Centurions of Italy occupy the sixth spot with six points from three third-placed finishes while Team Iron (five), DC Trident (four), Tokyo Frog Kings (four) and New York Breakers, with three points, complete the table.
London Roar will conclude their series versus Energy Standard, Toronto Titans and DC Trident from Thursday and Friday for Match Day Nine while Team Iron, Fog Kings, New York Breakers and Aqua Centurions face off on Match Day Ten, September 25 and 26
On completion of the round-robin stage, the first playoff involving the seventh to tenth-placed teams will take place from September 29-30 in Naples.
The top two from the bottom four playoffs will join the six top-ranked teams for six Match Days after which the top four will contest the semifinals at the Pieter Van Den Hoogenband Stadium, in Holland from November 11-18 and 25-28.