David Carry, triple-Olympian and double Commonwealth Champion David Carry may have travelled the world with his swimming, but he loves nothing more than coming home to Scotland.
With an exciting new chapter ahead – having become a father for the first time – David talks about his early days in the Granite City, his swimming mishaps and family life. Here’s what he had to say…
One of my first swimming memories was on holiday. We had spent the day at the beach and when we got back to our hotel my dad jumped fully clothed into the swimming pool because it was so hot. I just remembering thinking, ‘That is so cool’, so I did the same. At that point my dad decided it would be a good idea to teach me how to swim because I sank like a stone!
I went to Robert Gordon’s College. Those early years were amazing. In about Primary 5, I remember my folks being very excited that a new Headmaster was coming in. It turned out to be Ian Black who is a massive legend in the swimming world – he had been to the Olympics. I think that planted a seed of possibility in my mind – knowing that it is possible to come from Aberdeen, to come from the school and to make it to an Olympic Games.
There were a lot of early mornings. At the time it was just a way of life. I absolutely loved it. I loved the group I swam with, the coach, seeing the improvements, the support and attention I was given. I loved being good at something – that relentless pursuit of trying to develop. Only now do I realise that that’s not normal!
My parents were remarkable. They were completely devoted. Every morning they would get up at 5am and take me to swimming. Dad would then take me to school. I remember one morning – it was dark and miserable and my mum came in and said, ‘Do you really want to go training?’ It was a seminal moment when I took a second and replied, ‘Yes, I do actually’. A week later I got an alarm clock and it was up to me to get her up. But on my 17th birthday I got a set of car keys – they were like, ‘There you go, you’re off!’
Eating five meals a day was standard. I was one of those annoying people that actually struggled to keep weight on. One of my favourite meals was cabbage lasagne which was introduced to me by my wife. It sounds dreadful, but it is absolutely amazing. You use cabbage instead of pasta sheets.
The swimming gala was always a big moment. One year I had five races. It was going really well – we’d won the relay, front crawl was done, backstroke was done, breaststroke was done. Just butterfly to go. I remember diving in and immediately my trunks went round my ankles. It was that moment of critical decision making – do I continue, risk embarrassment but win the race? Or do I stop, pull my trunks up, risk disqualification but maintain dignity? So I of course went for dignity.
If I hadn’t been a swimmer I think I probably would have played more rugby. I think I would have gone further afield for university too. I might have gone into a corporate job or I might have joined the family business being a jeweller.
My purpose in life now is to help people fulfil their potential. Whether it’s with my family, my businesses – Triscape and Track Record – my wife’s business Straight-Line Swimming, or with my clients, it’s a total privilege being able to support these remarkable individuals and teams.
This new chapter in my life is my proudest. I’ve just become a father and it’s pretty incredible. That incredible sense of responsibility, that commitment. My biggest aim is to give Josephine a life like the one I’ve been fortunate enough to have. We can’t wait to take her swimming for the first time – we’re already doing lengths of the bath and she loves it!
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