The swim team observed a moment of silence before its first meet Thursday March 7 to honor the life of Justin Carr ’14, a swimmer who died Feb. 22 apparently of cardiomyopathy. The team won the meet over Crespi and Louisville, 95-74.
“I thought it was really respectful,” swimmer John Copses ’14 said. “I actually think it will help the team swim better this year, now that we have another incentive to do well.”
Copses swam in the men’s 100 breast stroke and recorded a time of 1:01.28 minutes to finish second to Alex Hsing ’16 who recorded a time of 1:00.94 minutes. Jonathan Carroll, the first-year head coach, said he believes the team is beginning to recover, although it still holds Carr in its memory.
“For the team, it was another reminder that he is still with us, he always will be, that he is a part of us,” Carroll said. “I wanted to let everyone deal with it in their own individual way; I have to think there are folks that will swim this season with Justin in mind.”
Morgan Hallock ’13 wrote Carr’s initials on her swim cap as a way of dedicating her performance to him. The team wore colorful suits as a tribute to Carr, since he liked color.
Copses said he felt that most of the team members would dedicate their season to his memory.
“It definitely brought the team closer. That night [of the event] we all talked together,” Copses said. “Especially the captains, the seniors, have been really supportive. It has been a great bonding experience.”
In the aftermath of the death, Carroll was concerned with how the story was being spread. Carr died during a swim practice, but not from stress-related causes.
“Immediately after, my major concern was that the story would get spun out of control and become something that it wasn’t,” Carroll said. “Besides dealing with the immediate emotional shock of it all, my message to the swimmers who were there that day was, ‘Here’s what happened, we know what happened. For anybody that might approach you and ask, let’s make sure that the story is told correctly in honor of Justin.’”
Carroll also noted how the team is helping one another through this time of tragedy.
“I think folks might be a little bit more willing to check in with each other,” Carroll said. “Swimming can be kind of individual, you are on the blocks, you have your own lane, you are doing your own thing. I think with this, it really kind of brought it home that we need to check in with one another and make sure we are communicating.”
“I am pretty confident a lot of people did well at the first meet,” swimmer Henry Copses ’14 said. “We lost to Crespi last year, and beating them this year at the start of the season is a good accomplishment. Loyola is going to be a challenge as always, but I think looking forward we should do well.”
Copses swam in the men’s 500 free and finished first with a time of 4:46.96 minutes. He competed in the 200 free where he won with a time of 1:47.77 minutes. Carroll said there is room for improvement in the team’s performance but, given the circumstances, he thought the team fared well.
“Folks are starting to get back to their normal mood emotionally,” Carroll said. “I think Justin’s spirit will be with us always.”