In just his freshman year of college, Bahamian junior national team swimmer DaVante Carey has quite a workload. He swam in six events at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II Greater Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) Swimming and Diving Championships at the Crawfordsville Aquatics Center in Crawfordsville, Indiana, last week.
Competition got underway last Wednesday and wrapped up on Saturday.
Carey represented the McKendree University Bearcats, swimming in the 100 and 200 yards backstroke, 100 yards butterfly, 200 Individual Medley (IM) and the 200 and 400 yards medley relays, and picked up two relay gold medals and a silver.
“Individually, this was a great way for me to start my college swimming championship meets,” Carey said. “I made my name known by moving up in events and making finals I wasn’t seeded in. Overall, I finished GLVC 2020 with three new individual school records and two relay school records, GLVC records, pool records, and the fastest times in division two. I feel good about it.”
In the 100 yards back race, Carey was in the ‘A’ final. He swam a personal best 47.81 seconds to finish second overall. That time was also faster than the NCAA Division II ‘B’ cut time. He is ranked at number five in the NCAA Division II rankings, and it was also a school record.
Finishing ahead of Carey was Drury University’s Nathan Bighetti who clocked 47.39 seconds.
Finishing third was Bighetti’s teammate Aidan Glynn who touched the wall in 48.47 seconds.
In the 200 yards back, Carey dropped 4.20 seconds off his personal best, swimming a time of 1:48.80 in the ‘B’ final. He placed 10th overall and was second in that final. He also swam under the NCAA Division II ‘B’ qualifying time.
Drury’s Andrew Rodriguez was first in that final with a time of 1:47.75. Missouri S&T’s Connor Wiedemeier was third as he clocked 1:49.57.
He swam another personal best in the 100 yards fly when he touched the wall in 47.94 seconds, shaving 1.83 seconds off his previous best of 49.77 seconds to go under the NCAA ‘B’ cut in that event.
That time placed him first in the ‘B’ final. Drury University’s Pavel Semochkin was second with a time of 48.38 seconds. Bighetti finished third as he managed to end the race in 48.38 seconds.
In the 200 yards IM, Carey finished 14th overall when he completed the race in 1:51.66. That shaved 1.92 seconds off his seed time of 1:53.58.
“The relay portion of the meet was an experience I’ve never experienced before – just the energy in the building. There would be a loud roar of cheers then two seconds later not a pin drop. I don’t have words for it but it’s just exhilarating because the guys I trained with, we wanted it badly and we went and got it. Also, just to sweep off the relays at GLVC 2020 and posting new records in all and having the top time in division two is an honor,” Carey said.
In the 200 yards medley, the Bearcats team of Carey, John Heaphy, Gregg Lichinsky and Xander Skinner was brilliant as they finished with the fastest time of 1:26.31. That time is the fastest in NCAA DII. It is also a new meet record.
Carey had a split of 21.88 seconds on the first leg – the 50 yard back. That time has recorded him as 27th in the NCAA DII in that event. According to him, his motivation on that leg was being called the “weak link” on the team.
Missouri University of Science and Technology was second with a time of 1:28.01, and Drury was a close third with a time of 1:28.14.
In the 400 yards medley relay, the Bearcats team of Carey, Heaphy, Lichinsky and Matija Pucarevic was also impressive as they turned in the fastest time in the NCAA DII, 3:12.06. It was also a new GLVC record.
The University of Indianapolis was second with a time of 3:14.91. Finishing five-tenths of a second behind them was Lindenwood University.
After a rigorous four days, the freshman said he is OK physically and that it is time to catch up in the classroom.
“Physically, I’m fine,” Carey said. “Surprisingly, I’m not sore or fatigued. I just want to catch up with some sleep, but also, we were out of the classroom since Monday (last week) so we have a lot to catch up with so that will a big focus over the next week.”
Overall, the Bearcats finished second at the meet with 1,414.50 points, 38.5 points behind the winner, the University of Indianapolis.
Next up for Carey and the Bearcats will be the NCAA DII Swimming Championships to be held on March 13-16 in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Carey and the other Bearcats swimmers who made the NCAA DII cuts will resume practice today.
In the stands cheering him on at the GLVC meet was his mother Elva Carey. He said it meant a lot to have her there cheering him on.
In this freshman season, Carey has been truly impressive, making a name for himself at his school and in conference swimming. As he prepares to head to Indianapolis, he is looking to continue to progress and make a name for himself nationally.