Once of the proudest moments of David Carry’s swimming career was when he won gold for Scotland in the 400m Freestyle on the opening day of the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, beating hosts Australia in their own back yard. Fired up by his early success, and with Team Scotland on a roll, he went on to win a second gold in the 400m Individual Medley and topped it off with a silver in the men’s 4x200m Freestyle Relay, making him one of the most successful athletes of the Games.
Since then David has struggled to replicate his winning ways. At the Olympic Games in Beijing, despite swimming well and achieving the targets he set himself, including setting a British record in the lead-off leg of the 4x200m Freestyle relay, it still wasn’t enough to claim a spot on the medal podium. So following a move from Loughborough to Stockport to train, he has worked with a team of experts around him, to identify his weak spots and put in place a programme that will hopefully get him back to winning ways by October, when the 2010 Commonwealth Games swimming competition gets underway in Delhi.
“I realised that actually there were still huge improvements for me to make, and it was primarily in strength and speed. While I was one of the quickest swimmers in the 200m Freestyle my start and my turns were just so bad I wasn’t even in the top 100 in those statistics. Once I realised that, my main aim was to be at least average in those areas which overall would make me one of the best in the world.”
In addition to his start and turns, David has also worked on building up pace over the shorter distances and lengthening his stroke. The plan is going well so far, as he showed at Scottish National Championship which doubled as the Commonwealth Games Trials in July. There he won gold in both the 200m and 400m Freestyle well inside the Games qualifying standards, despite not having tapered his training and increased his rest in advance of the event. He was also awarded the Berger Paints trophy for the best performance by a Scottish swimmer at the championships and the Eileen Adams Cup for the best combined 200m and 400m Freestyle results.
As the swimmers gathered at Tollcross Leisure Centre in Glasgow to have their selection for Team Scotland confirmed, David was told that his recent return to form had fittingly earned him the Clydesdale Bank Athlete of the Month Award for July, along with British number one Tennis player Elena Baltacha. He received £500 towards his training and competition costs. The scheme, being run by Commonwealth Games Scotland in conjunction with Clydesdale Bank as part of its programme of support to Team Scotland, has been open to athletes in all of the 17 participating sports who are eligible to represent Scotland at this year’s Games and there is now only one more opportunity for athletes to stake their claim.
David reflected: “To swim as quickly as I did without really resting up was exciting. I had been training really hard until three days before the competition. But I still swam the same times as I did for the British Championships in April, when I was completely rested.
“Replicating those times, which were among the top 12 in the world, filled me with confidence because it suggests there is more to come in Delhi and just thinking about it gives me Goosebumps.
“Many thanks to Clydesdale Bank, they are a great sponsor for Team Scotland and it means so much to be recognised in this way – it was a real surprise!”
We look forward to seeing David and the other swimmers in action when the competition in the pool gets underway on 4 October.