Skye Carter hopes her success can help break the stereotypes in swimmingAugust 24, 2023
Team England’s Skye Carter has opened up about her desires to break the stereotypes throughout her swimming career.
Carter – who recently came away with five medals from the Commonwealth Youth Games – was just the second black swimmer to represent Team England.
She followed in the footsteps of Rebecca Achieng Ajulu-Bushell at the 2010 senior Games in Delhi earlier this month and did so in some style with three golds, a silver and a bronze to her name from her time in the Caribbean.
During their time in Trinidad, Carter and fellow Team England swimmer Nick Finch were invited to speak at the British High Commission’s seminar on sport and mental well-being.
It was there that she revealed her story and spoke about her motivations to a group of youngsters from the Heroes Foundation – an organisation that aims to empower children and young people to build a sustainable future across Trinidad and Tobago.
She told the group: “Whatever sport you do, I think it really helps if you stay focussed but for me it’s been helpful knowing that I can be a bit of an inspiration.
“There’s always a stereotype that ‘black people can’t swim’ and knowing that stereotype it was good to get into swimming so I can beat it.
“I was just really proud to represent Team England because it’s just crazy to me. The second black swimmer ever – that’s just really cool.”
‘Inspiring those who are in the same boat as me’
The event also brought together a number of former and current Trinidad & Tobago athletes as well as Scotland’s Matthew Ward and Holly McGill and Anguilla’s Sage Connor to speak about their experiences.
More than 400 youngsters from 14 organisations were in attendance to hear from Carter, Finch and all the athletes involved at Trinidad’s Queens Hall.
Various questions were put to the athletes from how they deal with anxiety and pressure all the way to how they get motivated ahead of competition.
But it was the Basildon Phoenix’ swimmer – who also set a new Games record in the 50m Freestyle at the Games’ – story that resonated with the athletes that attended the session.
Before the competition, she told Team England that diversity is improving and she hopes that she can be inspiration to others.
“I didn’t know that I was Team England’s second black swimmer but that makes me really happy actually.”
“Because I feel like black people are a bit underrepresented in swimming so to be up there representing and hopefully being an inspiration to other girls who are in the same boat as me.
“When I was eight or nine, if I did see any swimmers they were not black swimmers, so to be a black swimmer representing Team England is quite good!
“Diversity is getting better, when I went to European Juniors, out of the top four from the 50m freestyle, three of them were black.
“It’s getting there, it is much better than if you look at the Olympics, there aren’t that many black swimmers compared to white swimmers or other sports but it’s coming.”
If you’ve been inspired to get involved in aquatics following Skye’s story, you can find your local club here.