By Mike Watkins//Contributor | Friday, January 24,
or not Carson Foster went to 2016 Olympic Trials with no
expectations of contending for a spot at the Olympics Games.
as one of just two 14-year-olds competing at the meet, his focus
was more on gaining experience and “learning the ropes”
of a large meet.
than the one that chooses the Olympic team every four years, he had
another, more local meet on his mind.
“Obviously in 2016 I knew I wasn’t going to make the
team; I was just excited that I got front row seats to watch the
best swimmers in the world,” he said. “I was more
worried about the Ohio Junior Olympics that year, which is kind of
funny when you think about it.
this time around, I’m 110 percent focused on Trials and am
looking forward to it. I’m only swimming events I feel like I
have a chance in and am still deciding which those are.”
will he be four years older this time at Trials but Foster is also
a much more savvy, seasoned swimmer on the National and
Trials, he’s brought home medals from two Junior World
Championship teams, the 2018 Jr. Pan Pacific Championship team and
last summer’s Phillips 66 USA Swimming National
first time, he was named to the National Team based on his time at
Phillips 66 Nationals, and he’s learned a lot about competing
against top competition from these big meets.
takes the starting block for his first preliminary swim in Omaha
this summer, his objectives will be much different.
experiences I’ve gotten the past couple years on the junior
team and now the national team have helped me tremendously,”
said Foster, who was chosen as a captain by his Junior World
Championship teammates. “I’ve gained confidence in
myself that I can compete with anyone in the world.
the biggest thing I’ve gained from these experiences are the
relationships I’ve made. The kids on my junior team trips are
some of my best friends and I’ve met so many people on the
national team that I’ve looked up to the past couple
his start in the sport at a very young 2 years old. His parents
wanted him and his siblings to get swim lessons before they got a
pool in their backyard.
As he got
older, Foster experimented with other sports, but when he was 5, he
and his brother, Jake, followed in their sister’s footsteps
and joined the swim team.
loved it,” Foster said. “I continued to play travel
baseball until I got my Olympic Trials cut when I was 14 (in
past three-plus years, Foster said he hasn’t changed anything
about his training.
his continued improvement to natural maturity, working on his
dryland strength and conditioning, and getting to know his coach,
Ken Heis, and his coaching style better every year.
trust and accepting his coaching style has proved to be the biggest
difference in Carson the 2016 swimmer and the one competing today.
“After 5 years, I have so much trust in him and that alone
goes a long way in swimming,” he said. “Outside of the
water, my body has grown a lot over the last 4 years. I work out at
Cincinnati Functional Fitness with Scott Goodpaster, and he is the
hardest working trainer in the world.
has analyzed so much swimming and put together workouts to help my
swimming in every way. So, in short, my coaches get the credit for
pool, he’s constantly thinking about Trials and preparing for
that meet even though it’s still months away. Out of the
pool, he’s recovering whenever he’s not swimming, and
he’s taking diet seriously and keeping a good balance in his
hard work and dedication has been paying off and recently
culminated in Foster’s performance last weekend at the TYR
Pro Swim Series event in Knoxville, Tenn., and Greensboro, N.C., in
continues to be a top competitor in his events – particularly
the 200 individual medley – and is very happy with his times
at this point in his training and with Trials still 5 months away.
“Before I left for the meet (in Knoxville), Ken told me that
I’ve never gone into a Pro Series meet that beat up from
training,” said Foster, who will celebrate numerous
milestones in 2020, including high school graduation and starting
college this fall at Texas, where he will swim for the Longhorns.
obviously swimming the way I did after hearing that gave me a ton
of confidence moving forward with training.”
said being able to add “Olympian” to that list of
personal accomplishments in 2020 would be a dream come true as
he’s wanted to be a member of the Olympic team for most of
his swimming life.
be an Olympian is definitely a life goal of mine; to reach the
pinnacle of the sport I love would be a dream come true,” he
said. “It’s been a goal of mine since I was 10 years
old during the 2012 Olympics.
“I’m looking forward to graduation in May, Trials in
June, hopefully the Olympics in July, and then the most exciting is
starting college in August. I couldn’t be more excited to
start my new journey down in Austin with that amazing team.”
because he’s doing all he can in and out of the water to best
prepare for Olympic Trials, Foster said he’s putting his
faith in God that whatever is meant to happen will happen.
helping him handle the added expectations and pressure of being one
of the top swimmers in the United States and world, and given him a
foundation upon which he can rely and depend without question.
past couple of years, I have gotten more involved in my faith and
that is what keeps my love for the sport strong,” said
Foster, who plans to swim in the Ohio Senior state meet, the
Indianapolis TYR Pro Swim Series event and a tune-up meet in Austin
prior to Trials. “Ultimately, if I make the Olympics, I will
be grateful for the opportunity, and if I don’t, I will be
grateful for the experiences and lessons God gave me this year that
I can use in the future.
journey is in His hands, and I will be ready for whatever comes my
way in June. As for being written and spoken of as a contender, I
see that as an honor rather than pressure. How many people get to
be seen as an Olympic contender? That’s exciting to me
whether or not I end up making the team, and I’m so thankful
for the situation I’m in.”