One of the brightest prospects this college season has been Bahamian freshman DaVante Carey who competes for McKendree University in the NCAA Division II. After a very successful mid season meet in November he has followed up with even more success and continues to lower his personal best, school records, Conference records and establish himself as one the best swimmers that The Bahamas has ever produced competing in yards.
On the first day Feb 12 of the Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) Championships held at the Crawfordsville Aquatic Center meet he qualified for the B finals. and placed sixth in a new personal best of 1:51.66., That effort was a new school record . That beat the previous record held by Matthew Meals of 1:51.89.Carey started his career in yards with a time of 2:01.53 in October
The pages of the record book continued to be torn up by in the 200 yard medley relay. Already the fastest Bahamian and school record holder in the 50 yard backstroke with his 22.42 relay leg from the Purdue Invitational Carey decided it was time to bring the Caribbean heat to the Conference Champs.He scorched to his first sub 22 second time clocking of 21.88, a new school record and all time Bahamian best also the fourth fastest time in Division II . Teammates John Heaphy breaststroke 23.87,Greg Lichinsky butterfly 21.18 and anchorman Alexander Skinner freestyle 19.38 completed the decisive win in a total time of 1:26.31. Wiped from the record sheet was the old school record of 1:30.14 and the pool and Conference record of 1:28.14. It is also the fastest time in Division II.
In the 100 yard butterfly there would be another impressive time drop. The heats saw he beating his old PB of 49.77 with a 49.18. That secured him a spot in the B final . He proved himself a class apart from the field. Though it is obvious he has the fast twitch fibres a plenty he took the race away from his competitors using his increased speed endurance. He trailed initially with opening split of 22.34. But it was his last 50 of 25.60 that broke the field. He touched in 47.94, the only sub 48 seconds time of the field. It also would have put him sixth in the Championship
BAHAMIAN HISTORICAL IMPACT
He is now tied with a CARIFTA region legend Olympian Jeremy Knowles. The only swimmers ahead of him are Olympians Nicholas Rees 47.88 and Elvis Burrows 46.72. Elvis recorded the Bahamian all time best swimming for the University of Kentucky Wildcats at the 2009 SEC Champs
Carey elaborated on that race
“Honestly, my morning swim wasn’t a good one at all. I messed up my first two walls. And I only swam 100 fly one other time this season so it was an adjustment I had to make for my evening swim. Coach Tierney just told me to use my speed going out and just bring it back as quick as I can”.
The Nassau native would pull off another double record feat in the 400 yard medley relay. His personal record of 48.95 was just off the school mark of 48.74. His opening leg of 48.36 that now owned all the sprint backstroke records for his school. Carey again proved too good for everyone else.His opening 50 yards split was 23.11 and no one was within half a second of him.He gave his team just the lead they wanted. Heapy breaststroke 53.21,Lichinsky butterfly 47.17 and Matija Pucarevic on anchor 43.32. They stopped the clocked in 3:12.05. That crushed the old school record of 3:14.05 and also downed the pool and Championship record of 3:13.43 set by Missouri University of Science and Technology.
The 100 yard backstroke record would not last the duration of the meet as the reigning CARIFTA Champion in the 50 and 100 metre backstroke proved that previous time barriers mean nothing to him.After cruising to the Championship final with a time of 49.02 he further solidify himself as the backstroker in school and Bahamian history in the 100 yard backstroke. Carey popped a 47.81 to win the Silver . Only Drury University’s Nathan Bighetti was faster with his Gold medal winning time of 47.39. He is also the ninth fastest in Division II
BAHAMIAN HISTORICAL IMPACT
Before Carey started competing the NCAA system no Bahamian had bettered 49.00 the standard set by Olympian Chris Vythoulkas. Now Carey has gone faster than 49 seconds and gone under the 48 seconds mark as well.
DaVante gave his insight on winning the Silver medal
“It was a race I really wanted to win. However I didn’t, but I wasn’t mad about it because i was happy with the outcome and my time. I knew this was my best chance to win an individual race at GLVC and make my name known. After my prelims swim I knew I could have cleaned up my race and go faster at night and that is what I did and now I am heading into nationals as the 9th seed”.
In the 200 yard backstroke he entered the meet with a 1:53.00. He beat that with a morning swim of 1:52.97. In the B final he decimated that standard with a time of 1:48.80 to finish second in the race. In another demonstration of his increased stamina he closed with the second fastest final 50 yards of 27.68. He is now the second fastest swimmer in the event in school history. That list also includes Cayman Islands representative Cole Morgan who sits at number five.
BAHAMIAN HISTORICAL IMPACT
Carey now has esatblished himself as the best backstroker in yards ever from the 50 to the 200. He again bettered another Vythoulkas mark.This time by the slimmest of margins as Chris had swum 1:48.81 at the 2003 ACC’s.
Draftingthecaribbean asked about his increased speed endurance and what training helped for the 200 yard backstroke
“I’ve been doing a lot of pace training and also training at below my pace time so i feel like that helped me a lot. After my morning swim I didn’t think I could have gone faster but. I watched my race to find weak points. So I decided that i would take the first 50 out a bit easier and just build each 50 from there and I think that iss what made the big difference. I really satisfied with the time because my first 200 back of the season I didn’t even break 2:00 and since then I have improved everytime I swam it. I am happy with the time and the training”.
DaVante closed the competition with a 45.10 second leg swim on the Bearcats team that won the B final in a time of 3:01.34.
Draftingthecaribbean also got DaVante to speak about the mindset going into the Conference Champs compared to the mid season invite
“I feel like going into conference was different because the men’s team knew that we had a real shot to win the conference title. So that was really the real motivation heading into conference where as at our mid season meet in November the team goal was to get their NCAA cut early on”.
The team finished second with a total of 1414 points. Topping the men’s competition was the University of Indianapolis with 1452 ,home to CARIFTA region age group stars from Team TTO Kael Yorke and Jeron Thompson. Third went to Drury with 1299 points.