Double Commonwealth Champion Carry Coaching Leaders To Success In The Business World

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David Carry - Photo Courtesy - Scottish Swimming

David Carry’s swimming odyssey started in the cold waters of the North Sea off Aberdeen, northern Scotland, and ended after London 2012 following three Olympics and trips to European and Commonwealth podiums.

“I loved the water,” he says. “A lot of my identity was wrapped up in being the swimmer”.

Now Carry is applying lessons learned and knowledge gained in the water and on poolside in the business world with Track Record, a company he co-founded with Scott Gardner, formerly of British Cycling and British Canoeing.

Katherine Moore, head of sports science and medicine for the GB Olympic canoeing team, and Dr Hannah McCloud, who was the equivalent on the hockey team, also came on board.

The aim is to maximise leadership, performance and individual potential to produce the best possible results and together they have produced a book, Take Control of Your Confidence.

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Photo Courtesy: David Carry – Twitter @davidcarry

In an interview with The Independent, Carry explains how the company translates their knowledge and experience of elite sport into delivering business success, including biometrics to help address stress among FTSE 100 employees.

“There’s a bunch of myths surrounding the ability to deal with stress. We apply a biometric measure, separating fact and opinion. You get a readout that tells you about your stress levels and then we can work on increasing resilience.

“People can hide it but our monitors show it up. Then you can do something about it, before you hit the wall.”

Resilience is a keyword in an athlete’s journey with its bumps in the road and where highs can be swiftly followed by lows, the point, many athletes say, where they learn the greatest lessons, albeit often painful.

The Scot’s own journey took in several highs including five medals – two of them gold – at the 2006 and 2010 Commonwealth Games and 4x200m relay silver at the 2006 European Championships in Budapest, Hungary, a result replicated at the World Short-Course Championships in Manchester, England, in 2008.

Carry made his Olympic debut in Athens in 2004 where he was a member of the Great Britain 4×200 relay squad that qualified fourth for the final.

Elation, however, was followed by devastation when he was not selected to race the final with David O’Brien slotting in as the British quartet finished fourth, 0.77secs behind the Italian squad of Emiliano BrembillaMassimiliano Rosolino, Simone Cercato and Filippo Magnini.

Four years later in Beijing, Carry set a then British record of 1:46.47 in the lead-off of the 4x200m free heats where they again qualified fourth in a national record of 7:07.89.

That record was demolished in the final as the four lowered it to 7:05.92 but there was to be no trip to the podium as they finished sixth, 0.94secs off Australia in third in a race won by the United States in an astonishing world record of 6:58.56 featuring an eye-watering lead-off of 1:43.31 by Michael Phelps.

Seconds after leaving the pool, he was informed by way of a graph that he had been the second-fastest in the world for 75% of the race but not in the top 100 for the remaining 25%.

He resolved to learn, determined to be the best version of himself and when Gardner, who had been British Cycling’s performance scientist, switched to swimming, results improved.

Carry realised 30% of his 80-90km training per week was detrimental, developing unnecessary muscle, and the two started from scratch.

Gardner had no background in swimming but he wanted to minimise drag and maximise propulsion.

Carry explains:

“We had forgotten the drag. His attention to detail was incredible. We had to do everything we could to minimise injury and illness.

“We even had surgeons come in to show us how to wash our hands properly. We didn’t go into competitions relying on hope anymore.

“It was all about the science of hydro-dynamics – how the body moves through water.”

On to 2012 and Carry reached the final of the 400m free, finishing seventh in 3:48.62, a race featuring three men in the form of Sun Yang, Park Tae-hwan and Conor Dwyer who have subsequently tested positive for banned substances.

For Carry “it was the closest I got to realising my full potential as a swimmer”.

There was a heat swim with the British 4x200m relay squad although no place in the final in which they finished sixth.

Carry retired months later  and started out on his current path, helping translate his sporting experiences to the boardroom.

“It wasn’t the medals, it was more those moments of realisation I wanted to share with people.”

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