USA-based top T&T swimmer, Dylan Carter is in favour of next year's International Swimming Federation (FINA) World Aquatics Championships and World Masters Championships in Fukuoka (JPN) being staged before the Tokyo Olympic Games which were postponed from July of this year to July 24 to August 8, 2021.
On Monday last, FINA, the world governing body for water sports noted that they were still working on an updated date selection for the 2021 FINA World Aquatics Championships, which was forced to move given their overlap with the new dates for the 2020 Olympic Games.
The biannual event was scheduled from July 16 to August 1st, 2021, which now conflicts with the dates that the International Olympic Committee will use to host the 2020 Olympic Games: July 23rd to August 8th, 2021 after the event was delayed by a year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The IOC was forced to move the Olympic Games as the result of the global coronavirus pandemic that has now surpassed 1.3 million confirmed infections and almost 74,000 deaths
A survey sent to international-calibre athletes proposed four possible makeup dates for the event with athletes across the six major disciplines governed by FINA being asked to give their preference on the new dates for the 2021 World Championships.
According to SwimSwam, the FINA Athlete Committee has distributed a survey to participants in swimming, open water swimming, artistic swimming, diving, high diving and water polo to gauge their opinion on when the Championships should be held.
The four options given to the athletes included- March/April 2021, immediately after the Olympic Games, after Tokyo 2020 in September/October and sometime in 2022.
Others including the local Organising Committee, broadcasters and National Federations are also set to be consulted before FINA makes its final decision.
World Athletes which was also set to stage their World Championship in Oregon, USA next year from August 6 to 16 have already postponed their event until 2022, and among the national swimming federations first to respond publicly was Swimming Canada who called on FINA to follow suit, claiming holding the World Championships in 2021 would create "many challenges".
However, speaking to Guardian Media Sports from his San Diego, California, Los Angeles, USA based, Carter, said on Tuesday he would prefer to see the FINA World Aquatics Championship come off in March/April 2021 from the four possible options.
Carter who won a 2018 Commonwealth Games silver medal in the 50 metres butterfly said he received the survey from FINA last week and filled it out.
"I believe there were three or four options for the 2021 FINA World Championships which are going to be in Japan as well, one was March/April, the other immediately following the Tokyo Olympics, one for September/October, and then 2022, explained Carter who got bronze medal winner in the 50m butterfly at the 2018 FINA Short Course World Championships in Hangzhou, China, the second ever for T&T.
"But after careful consideration with my coach David Marsh I chose the March/April option for the FINA World Championships mostly because it gives me a shorter time horizon on something to work towards as I would look forward to competing in a year at a "Big Championships" which is exciting for me, explained Carter a silver medal winner at the 2013 World Junior Championships in the 50 metres butterfly and the 2014 Youth Olympic Games, and a bronze in the 50 metres freestyle.
Despite their Grand Prix events and World Cups swimming legs world wide, the 24-year-old Carter, a 2019 Pan American Games bronze medalist in the 100 metres backstroke stated; "As swimmers and top-level athletes we all love to compete and for it to be sooner for me that gives me something major to look towards and something to focus on as well as being a great trial run for the Olympic Games because it's in Japan as well, and the World Championships will be about four months before, so it will be a great place to go and kind of figure out where you stand and what you will need to fix a couple of months before the Olympics."
A former University of Southern California standout and NCAA swimming champion Carter also spared a thought for the veteran athletes of the sport who may be contemplating ending their careers with one more major event like the Olympic Games, "I know a lot of older athletes might want to retire after the Olympics and may not want to continue after August and having to extend their career especially after having the Olympic Games postponed from this year, so having the World Championships before the Olympics would work in their favour as well."
The 2013 T&T "Junior Male Athlete of the Year" and NCAA Champion as a member of the 800-yard freestyle relay, Carter added, "So I think they to will be hoping for a World Championship early on in the year in March/April/May, but at the same time, there are some people who are saying otherwise as they don't want to have to focus on the FINA World Championships before the Olympic Games, which may pose as an added pressure on them.
Carter who has qualified to compete in the 100 freestyle next year in Tokyo said he will be surely doing a couple of warm-up events on the circuit, in addition to the World Championship should it be confirmed for March/April.
In general, he also praised the efforts of FINA to have the athletes more involved in the decision making for the World Championship saying: "I'm glad that FINA is letting us athletes have a say or at least taking the athletes say into consideration, and I am optimistic that it will be brought earlier in the year 2021.
"Outside of the sport I am also hoping that we will also get through this covid-19 ordeal sooner rather than later and all get back to training and hopefully everyone will be able to do so in a healthy manner"
With his movement and training schedule limited to his home pool, Carter stated, "like most of the world and athletes as well, we are currently on lockdown in here in San Diego.
"Before the lockdown, I was training here with my coach (David Marsh) who was the head coach of the 2016 USA Olympic Swimming team and we were here in heavy preparation for what was expected to be the Tokyo Olympics Games in August, but unfortunately as we all know the Games have been postponed for a year.
"So currently we are all under lockdown here so not much going on, but I am still trying to stay in shape and working towards my goals as best as possible, and being productive at this time by sharpening my mental skills and visualisation and what not."
The FINA update made no mention of the 2020 World Short Course Swimming Championships, which have been awarded to Abu Dhabi, UAE and are scheduled for December 15 -20.