Brother, sister qualify for Olympic swim trials
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Two siblings from Charleston have qualified for the U.S. Olympic trials in swimming.
Nathan Carr, 17, a senior at Charleston Catholic High School, and Morgan Carr, 15, a CCHS sophomore, achieved the feat within 20 minutes of each other at a meet Friday in Nashville, Tenn. They earned the opportunity to compete in the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials June 25 to July 2, at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Neb.
"Let me tell you, the day we got the Olympic trial cuts, all family stuff aside, was the happiest moment of our lives," Nathan said.
Morgan qualified in the 200-meter butterfly with a time of 2:16.03, making the cut by less than half a second. At age 15, she is the youngest Olympic qualifier in West Virginia history.
Nathan made it by an even slimmer margin in the 200-meter breaststroke.
With a time of 2:20.78, he qualified for the Olympic trials by one-hundredth of a second.
"I couldn't believe it at first, but then it became real and everything started to sink in," Morgan said. "It was really gratifying, because everything came together.
"For the first day, even the first two days, my cheeks were hurting because I was smiling so much," Nate added. "It was just a whole bunch of emotions and it took a while for it to all sink in."
Their achievement was the culmination of months of hard work and extensive training with their coach, Philipp Davydotchkin.
Davydotchkin, 26, originally from Russia, coaches youth in the Huntington YMCA Charleston Aquatic Team, or HYCAT, program. HYCAT has a variety of teams for swimmers with varying experience levels, including the elite USA Swimming team Nate and Morgan are members of.
Davydotchkin said two weeks before making the Olympic trails, the duo tried and failed to make the cut at a meet in Knoxville, Tenn.
"They were a little bit off, and we decided to give it another chance," Davydotchkin said. "We kind of regrouped and trained for two more weeks and went to Nashville. On the very first night, both of them had got their cut. And it was in quick succession.
"For us, I think it was quite a special 30 minutes. In 30 minutes, our whole lives changed," Davydotchkin said.
Nate said it has been their goal to make the Olympic trials since last summer. He and his sister have consistently done eight workouts a week, even through injury and illness, in hopes of making the cut.
"They do two workouts about four times a week," Davydotchkin said. "Since about early January, I started asking them to swim every day, even Sunday, so they haven't had a day off since probably New Years. The training has just been very, very tough and strict, but they've gotten through it."
Next week, 1,700 elite swimmers from across the country will converge on Omaha. Davydotchkin said it's the most qualifiers the Olympic swim team has ever had, but only 26 men and 26 women will move on to represent the United States in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
Nate will be swimming alongside the likes of Michael Phelps, who won a record-breaking eight gold medals in swimming at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China.
"It's gonna be unreal," Nate said. "You see all these big names, Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte, and everyone knows about these guys, and it's gonna be a good experience to be in a meet, be the underdogs, and swimming against these guys. It's crazy."
Although their chances of moving on to the games are slim, they will keep training this week in preparation for the biggest meet of their lives.
"This next week and a half, they'll have to swim hard for a couple of days and then I'll taper back off of them and rest them," Davydotchkin said. "Really now it's a lot about having fun, going there for the experience and enjoying yourself. The pressure was to make the cut. That was the goal. And now that we've made the cut, the pressure's off. We get to go have fun."
Both Morgan and Nate agreed the nerves have cooled down since they reached their goal of making the cut for the trials, and their focus will be on having fun and trying their best when they go to Omaha.
"I was really nervous before when I was trying to get the cut. I think I was more nervous then than I'll be at Omaha," Morgan said. "At Omaha, I'm just focused on having fun and stuff."
Nate said making the trials reassured him of his great progress as a swimmer. He hopes to set the bar even higher four years down the road.
"Just look for us in 2016," Nate laughed.