“IT has been incredible to have the opportunity to test yourself against the very best in the world,” Michael Carp told The AJN from Gwangju in South Korea this week, after representing Australia in five men’s 50-54 events at the 2019 FINA World Masters Swimming Championships.
After a slow but steady start to the 10-day tournament, coming 15th in the 200 freestyle, the 50-year-old Melburnian improved in each race, coming 10th in the 200 individual medley, eighth in the 100 backstroke, and seventh in the 200 backstroke, but was slightly disappointed with his times.
Determined to finish on a high, Carp saved his best swim for last, posting a PB (personal best) time of 32.39 seconds to finish ninth out of 25 in the 50 backstroke – just 2.35 seconds behind bronze medallist Shunsuke Ueda.
It meant the Melbourne H20 Swim Club member achieved the two goals he set himself for the tournament, to achieve at least one top-10 finish and to record a PB time.
“It was a long journey to get here, with many months of very hard training, then being away from home alone, and trying to stay focused and in the zone for 10 days,” Carp said.
“But the opportunity to represent yourself and your country at a world championships event doesn’t come around too often.
“There is so much excitement seeing your name alongside your country on the scoreboard as you enter the arena to race – nothing can quite prepare you for the nerves at that moment.”
Carp added he felt extra proud after his brilliant 50 backstroke swim, because he had “learnt a lot about myself” in the days before.
“It would have been easy to be disappointed with my earlier swims, where I wasn’t happy with my times, and to allow that to ruin my experience or my performance.
“I did manage to achieve four top-10 finishes, compared to one at the 2017 world championships.
“However, I think my greatest success at this event was being able to maintain a positive mindset until the very last race on the 10th day, where I did manage to swim a PB.
“I’m extremely proud of that swim.”