CollegeSwimming has named Chris Carter of William and Mary and Harvey Humphries of the University of Georgia as its Assistant Coaches of the Year. Carter was selected in the Rising categories.
Coach Chris Carter is in his fifth season as the Assistant Coach/Associate Head Coach at William and Mary. In his time with the Tribe, the program has seen an impressive emergence as a power team in the CAA. Matt Crispino credits Carter in being instrumental part in the Tribe sweeping the men’s and women’s CAA championships for the first time in program history in 2015-2016.
“The contributions Chris has made to William & Mary, to our swimmers, and to me are immeasurable. He is not just a great coach who gets the most out of his athletes. He is a great human being -- genuine, loyal, trustworthy, and wise beyond his years. I cannot think of a person more deserving of this honor than Chris Carter. We are lucky to have him, and we thank him for making us all better.”
The accomplishments of Chris’ swimmers speak for themselves. In his four years as my top assistant, Chris has developed some of the best swimmers in the history of our program. The year before he come on board, our men and women both finished third at the conference meet. In 2015, our men won their first CAA title ever. In 2016, in addition to the men’s repeat victory, the women also became CAA champions, marking the first time in school history we won both titles.
Working primarily with distance swimmers, Chris has build an impressive resume. As the 2016 CAA Championships, both winners of the 1650 free were Tribe distance swimmers. He coached school record holder Kemp Pettyjohn to victory in the 500 free in 2013 (4:23) and freshman Eric Grimes to victory in the 500 free this year (4:25). We have also had numerous other champions in the 200 free, 400 IM, and 800 free relay. This year, our men won the 800 free relay for the sixth consecutive year.
Away from the pool, Chris is our recruiting coordinator who has attracted some of the best swimmers in program history to W&M. He is a tireless worker on the recruiting trail, traveling frequently to club programs to find the next generation of Tribe swimmers. His recruiting classes have consisted of a multitude of CAA Champions and NCAA B-qualifiers.
Another responsibility taken on by Chris is academics. He is the chief point of contact for our student-athletes and their academic pursuits. Working closely with our academic support staff, our teams recorded their highest team GPAs in over a decade, including five 4.0s and six 2nd team Academic All Americans.
Most importantly, Chris is a great friend to me and our student-athletes. He is loyal to a fault, willing to go the extra mile to make sure our swimmers have what they need to be successful. He has an uncanny ability to connect on a personal level with everyone. His laid-back, easygoing approach to life carries over to his style on the pool deck. He puts our swimmers at ease and makes them laugh. He is honest with them and in return, they are willing to share their thoughts, concerns, and emotions with him. He is a master motivator, a knowledgeable sport psychologist, and a skilled comedian with a great delivery. He has the skills and knowledge to be a head coach, which is why he was promoted to Associate Head Coach after the 2014-15 season. This season, with the death of my daughter, I was unable to dedicate as much time and effort to the team as I usually would. With Chris at the helm, they didn’t miss a beat, winning the Bucknell invite (men and women) and excelling at Winter Nationals.
I am a student at William and Mary and member of the 2016 CAA Champion William and Mary Women’s Swim Team. I am writing to urge you to select our associate head coach, Chris Carter, for the Rising Assistant Coach of the Year Award. Chris was absolutely critical to our program’s double victory this year at the CAA conference championship as well as winning the Men’s CAA title in 2015. On behalf of the entire W&M program, I would like to share a little about how much Chris contributes to our success and his value as a friend and mentor to our team.
Chris is unequivocally dedicated to Tribe Swimming. His passion for our program and love for the sport show daily in practice. Every set that Chris gives us is designed to improve our race performance and test us both physically and mentally. While his workouts are challenging, he is always there on the side of the pool deck to provide encouragement or praise during a tough set. Furthermore, Chris makes it clear that times are not the end-all-be-all. Swimming can be frustrating; while long practices are frequent, best times are rare. To handle our frustration, Chris is quick to offer suggestions regarding technique, turns, pace, etc. so that we can get the most out of every practice or race.
Chris is invaluable to our program as a friend and mentor to me and my teammates. He is always available on the pool deck, in his office, or over the phone to listen to anything we need to talk about—be it about swimming, classes, family, or funny Youtube videos. I have met very few people who will listen to another person’s personal problems with such genuine empathy. Whenever I swim a race, good or bad, Chris is the first person I want to talk to. Every day after practice during my freshman year, Chris would roll my sore shoulders out with a tennis ball and provide a few words of encouragement. When he was visiting recruits over the summer near my hometown, the two of us went out to lunch to talk and catch up on each other’s lives. “Coach” simply is not a sufficient phrase to describe the relationship that Chris has with so many swimmers at W&M.
Chris Carter cares about each member of Tribe Swimming above and beyond the call of duty. Earlier this year our team confronted serious tragedy when our head coach Matt Crispino’s daughter passed away. Chris has been our rock during this incredibly difficult time, as Matt’s priorities necessarily shifted away from the pool deck. He strikes the rare balance between being a great coach, mentor, and friend. Chris has helped our program achieve so many of its goals in the water, but more importantly, he has supported all of us when we needed someone to lean on. He deserves to be recognized for the outstanding role model and coach that he is.
This year marked the first year a popular vote was included in the award nominations. The votes themselves were counted for one third of the selection process, with a committee and the organizers of CollegeSwimming.com making up the other two. Once finalists were selected in each category, a twitter poll was run for four days. The response was impressive; both polls received over 1,200 votes. It was a fantastic showing for all of the finalists.
CollegeSwimming also recognized three other finalists for the rising category. They included Bates' Vanessa Williamson, Florida International's Ignacio Gayo and Air Force's Colleen Murphy.