Carter exudes confidence ahead of 50m ‘fly’ final

TOP TEAM TTO swimmer Dylan Carter will line up for gold in the men’s 50-metre butterfly final today around 10.41 a.m. (T&T time) when the FINA 15th World Short Course (25m) Swimming Championships continue at the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates.

Carter posted the third-fastest time after the two semi-final heats, ensuring his final-eight spot with a national record swim of 22.18 seconds. In semi-final two yesterday, co-world record-holder for the event, Szebasztian Szabo of Hungary, got his fingers to the wall ahead of Carter, posting the fastest time overall going into today’s final with a 22.11-second effort.

A few minutes earlier, fellow joint-world record-holder for the event, 41-year-old veteran Nicholas Santos of Brazil, claimed the victory in semi-final one with a 22.12-second clocking. The world record stands at 21.75, with Santos achieving the time at the 2018 FINA World Cup leg in Budapest, Hungary, while Szabo equalled the mark recently, at the European Short Course Swimming Championships in Kazan, Russia, last November 6.

Carter’s time improved on his 22.25 previous standard established at the International Swimming League (ISL) Playoff Match 13 in Eindhoven, Netherlands, on November 14.

Carter, bronze medallist in the men’s 50m ‘fly’ at the last edition of this event in Hangzhou, China, back in 2018, will swim out of lane three in the championship final with defending champion Santos—who became the oldest swimmer to win a World Championship medal (bronze) at age 39, at the 2019 World Long Course (50m) competition—diving into action from lane five.

Meanwhile, Szabo has the top-seeded lane four while Italy’s Matteo Rivolta, champion of the men’s 100m butterfly event Saturday, competing out of lane six after being third—with a 22.20-second clocking—behind Szabo and Carter in semi-final two.

In lane two will be two-time Olympic gold medallist (Rio 2016 & Tokyo 2020) from the USA, Tom Shields, who registered 22.29 clocking to qualify while Russian Swimming Federation’s (RSF) Oleg Kostin will line up in lane seven, after advancing with a 22.36-second effort. Belarus’s Grigori Pekarski (22.44) will occupy lane one while the Netherlands’ Nyle Korstanje takes the final block in lane eight.

“I’m winning it (the final) tomorrow (today),” a confident Carter told the Express after his semi-final swim. The Tokyo 2020 Olympian added that he would scratch from the men’s 100m freestyle preliminaries this morning and rest up to give himself the best shot at gold for today’s 50m ‘fly’ final.

“(It’s) been a long year. Going to let myself have the morning off,” the 2018 Commonwealth Games silver medallist explained. “Otherwise, business as usual (in terms of preparation routine).”

Earlier in the preliminaries, Carter posted the fastest time of all comers, winning heat nine of ten. The former University of Southern California (USC) student blasted out to the lead and never relented, touching the time pad in 22.36 seconds. The 25-year-old finished ahead of Santos (22.66) with RSF’s Roman Shevliakov in third in 22.79.