Above The Cut – Garrett Carson Is Olympia’s Freshman Swim Phenomenon

garrett carson olympia swim teamBy Anne Larsen

Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.” John Wooden

This past Fall Garrett Carson tried out for the Olympia Bears Basketball team and was cut. The story could end there, but that is just the beginning of how this dynamo kid went from benching it in basketball  to competing at state in two events on the Olympia Bears Swim Team.

Garrett is a well rounded athletic sort of kid. He’s been a swimmer since the age of 8, and when his family moved here from Illinois two years ago he joined the Evergreen Swim Club. Last Spring he quit swimming, played tennis,  and then tried out for basketball in the Fall. He really loves basketball, but when that didn’t work out, his coach from Evergreen Swim Club encouraged him to try out for swimming.

Olympia’s Head Swim Coach Mel Smith couldn’t be happier with Garrett’s decision. “Garrett is a good kid. He’s hardworking, dedicated, enthusiastic and committed.”

This will be Coach Smith’s 5th year coaching the Olympia Boys Swim Team and he believes this is the best boys high school team he’s had in his 32 years of coaching. Of the 24 swimmers on the team, 21 will letter this season, and 18 of those varsity letters will return next year. Looks like nothing but a golden future for this team!

The Carson household is full of athletes.  “Both of my parents are runners and my mom is a professional Pilates instructor.”  His older sister is a dancer and younger brother is a swimmer too at Evergreen Swim Club. Athletics is just a part of the Carson family’s day to day life. With a dad that quotes John Wooden, you’d expect nothing but character and determination from this crew!  Balancing academic and athletic responsibilities is no easy feat. “My parents pound me on responsibility. School is always more important than swimming.”  But Garrett takes the dual responsibility in stride, developing a routine to get his work done and done well. “Whenever I don’t get an “A” I know that I can do better.”

olympia swim teamGarrett will be competing in two state events this weekend (February 17 and 18) at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way. To qualify for state an individual may qualify by meeting the minimum time standards in a district qualifying meet or placing in the top 6 at a district qualifying meet.  Garrett, who has been training since November 14th, will compete in the 200 IM and 100 Butterfly. His dedication to his team and sport is evident (96% practice attendance rate) and it’s those two qualities that have propelled him to state. Although, swimming is a very individual sport, Garrett loves how his teammates are on the deck cheering for each other and how well you get to know your teammates.

Being cut from the basketball team became an opportunity for Garrett to identify how talented a swimmer he really is. In the next few swim seasons he hopes to be captain of the team and take the team to new levels of competition.  The future can only look bright for Coach Smith and Garrett, with three more years ahead of them I am sure this is just the beginning of many incredible years for the Olympia Bears Boys Swim Team.

Go luck at state Garrett!

“Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.” John Wooden

Evergreen Swim Club – 

WIAA Website – 

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