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Olympic trial swimmer headed to WVU

By Madison Fleck

Charleston Catholic High School senior Nate Carr, who participated last summer in the national Olympics swimming trials, has committed to swim next with West Virginia University.

Carr, along with his younger sister Morgan, qualified last summer for the U.S. Olympic Team Trials. Nate made the trials in the 200-meter breaststroke. With a time of 2:20.78, he qualified by one-hundredth of a second.

The siblings fell short of their dream to make the Summer Olympics. At the trials in Omaha, Neb., Morgan placed 92nd with a time of 2:18.56 in the 200-meter butterfly, and Nathan placed 120th in the 200-meter breaststroke with a time of 2:24.68.

Both Carr siblings are aiming for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Meanwhile, Nate will be competing for the Mountaineers.

"We knew that it was going to be hard for us to land him," said WVU head swim coach, Vic Riggs. "We had to get him to understand that he could accomplish everything he wants to here, just as he could at the other universities."

Riggs noted that in-state students know a lot about the university, but they often lack knowledge when it comes to the WVU swimming program.

WVU makes in-state students a priority and thus tries to stay in competition with bigger, better facilities.

"We knew our biggest challenge would be getting him here for a visit and getting him to meet the team," Riggs said.

WVU pursued Carr and invited him to the campus for Junior Day in fall 2011. From there, the university kept in touch with Carr throughout the year.

Carr was considering a number of schools when making his decision, including Ohio State, Virginia Tech and the University of North Carolina. However, it was not until he visited WVU that he knew it was a perfect fit.

"When I took my visit to WVU, that's when I really knew. I really got to experience how close the team was," Carr said.

Nate's openness and candidness about what he wanted and his goals as both a student and athlete stood out to Riggs as he considered Nate for the team.

"On their visit to the university, one of the things Nate's dad said to me was that one of the other universities he'd been to was very proper and they did the whole recruiting thing," Riggs said.

 "But when they came to us on a visit, Nate felt at home. The guys on the team were just being who they are, and that was the final piece of the puzzle."

There were many factors that went into Carr's decision, and coaching was one of them.

"I think Vic Riggs' coaching is great," he said. "I think it's the program that will make me the happiest and that I can take the farthest."

Not only is Carr receiving academic scholarships, but the WVU athletic team will cover any finances that the academic scholarships do not meet.

Being a lover of the Mountaineers and Morgantown itself, Nate kept WVU on his list as he continued to narrow down schools.

"I'm going to train the best and perform the best wherever I'm happiest, and WVU has all of those things taken care of," Carr said.

Coach Riggs has a lot of faith in Nate and is confident that the swimmer will bring WVU to the next level.

"Talent-wise, he's unlimited. He's seen what it takes to get to the Olympic trials," Riggs said. "He already knows he wants to go back in 2016, and those are the kids who you want to come in fresh to your program as you're trying to make that next step."

Likewise, Carr is confident that the WVU swim program will help him reach his goals.

WVU took 4 students to the 2008 Olympic Trials and 8 students to the 2012 trials. The Mountaineers plan to double that number for 2016, and Nate will most likely be in the group.

"I made my choice and I'm really happy with it," Carr said. "I think I picked the right school."


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