By Matt de Simone Contributing writer
Olivia Carter, daughter of Dale and Rebecca Carter and the granddaughter of the late Dale and Gloria Carter of Buchanan, has a bright future in the water. The University of Georgia freshman is currently one of the top-ranked swimmers in the country. That’s a far stretch from the kid who used to spend time in the summer splashing around Purgatory Creek building mini-waterfalls with her uncle.
Carter came up swimming for Enfinity Aquatic Club, a swimming club located in Greensboro and Kernersville, N.C. It was there Carter began her swimming career competing in individual meets gaining experience in the competitive waters of the club scene in California and internationally competing in Fiji. Through her record-setting success, it landed her a spot on the University of Georgia’s swim team, introducing Carter to her first taste of team trials.
She recently made waves in Austin, Texas at the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) Swimming and Diving Championships, earning her team a top-20 finish in Carter’s foray into the big stage of collegiate events. This setting and points system was unlike any other event in which she previously performed.
“NCAA was different from past events because I was representing a college in a gender-specific meet, which is something I haven’t experienced before,” Carter explained. “I think the biggest thing that was different about this meet was that it was team-oriented. I was swimming for Georgia’s points.”
In the past, Carter only needed to worry about her own individual efforts. In Austin, she was a part of a team of women giving their all to bring home a championship. Although the university came up short, in the end, Carter gained a lot of experience that she’s prepared to use as she furthers her swimming career. After all, she’s only a freshman. “I learned how to be strong mentally,” Carter continued. “I know I’ll have difficult races. Having to push myself through this last meet was important and something I’ll take with me everywhere I go.”
Not only has Carter just completed her first year of collegiate swimming, she also became a mentally tough NCAA All-American in the process. By finishing seventh overall in her best event, the 200-meter butterfly, Carter earned All-American honors in her first attempt at a national championship swimming for the Bulldogs. Carter explained that she humbly accepted the recognition. “It’s a good reminder when I have a difficult race. I like to carry myself with a lot of self-confidence. Not necessarily pride, but just self-confidence.” She simply trusts her abilities to be one of the best swimmers in the country.
Again, a far-stretch from the future All-American skipping pebbles across Purgatory Creek.
She could soon throw around other circular rocks, only not into the friendly Buchanan waters. These rocks, or metals— to be more specific— are to be worn, not thrown. In 2020, Carter has a chance to join the United State Swim Team in Tokyo. She’s currently preparing for the 2020 US Olympic Swimming Trials to be held this June in Omaha, Neb.. A spot on a team would land Carter in Tokyo. Then, one month later, she could potentially represent the United States for the world to see.
To prepare herself for a meet, Carter turns to music. While many people her age are bopping to the beat of a Cardi B or a Bruno Mars, Carter uses the rock and roll adrenaline provided by New Zealand’s greatest import, AC/DC. “I always have my headphones on whether I’m cheering, or eating, or just hanging out. Music is something I definitely use a lot to boost my confidence or get me in the zone,” Carter revealed. “I’m a big AC/DC fan or any sort of hard rock. I also listen to more modern stuff. The song ‘Highway’ by Bleeker is my go-to song.”
Although she never competed for a local club, Carter has a deep appreciation for the area. “I see Buchanan and Virginia as sort of a haven. This is the place where I go to relax and not think about swimming. I hang out and enjoy nature. It’s an escape,” she said.
The future is bright for the University of Georgia freshman. Hopefully, Carter’s return to her haven will come equipped with future accolades, championships, and gold medals.
To follow Olivia Carter on her quest to become an Olympian and a national champion for the University of Georgia, check out the swimming team’s roster page at georgiadogs.com.