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Swim star Carp named flagbearer for Pan-Am Games

Posted: 04-Jul-2019 by PanAm Games 2019

Maccabi Australia is delighted to announce swimmer Barry Carp has been appointed team captain and flagbearer for the 2019 Pan-American Games in Mexico.

The 52-year-old will lead the biggest-ever Aussie contingent into the Mexico City Arena at the opening ceremony next week, as they join 3,700 other Jewish athletes from 23 countries all over the world.

Attending just his second international Games for Maccabi, Carp was shocked to receive such an honour.

“I was very humbled, it was a big surprise when Sam [Gamsu] dropped that on me so very excited - it’s a great honour,” he said.

Barry Carp has been named Australia's flagbearer and captain for the 2019 Maccabi Pan-American Games 

“It’s further assurance of the path and the journey that I’ve been on. The amazing thing about events like PanAms is really the volunteer efforts. The amazing commitment of all the volunteers that put it together.

“And then to have the opportunity to travel and to compete as a 52-year-old is really exciting. I’ve been involved with Maccabi Swimming and Ajax Swimming before that for probably 45 of the 52 years that I’ve been alive. So, this is an incredible celebration in a sense of all the years that I’ve been involved with the swim club. I guess it’s the culmination of a wonderful journey.”

Carp will swim the 50m and 100m distances across breaststroke, butterfly and freestyle in Mexico, as he competes in the masters category for the first time. Two years ago, he ended an over 30-year hiatus from competitive swimming, fulfilling his lifelong dream of swimming at the Maccabiah Games in Israel.

Incredibly, at 50 years of age, he competed against swimmers half his age in the opens category – and shared the pool with former Olympic gold medallist Anthony Irvin.

A state champion in Victoria at age 11, Carp wasn’t allowed to attend Maccabiah in 1977 despite making the qualifying time, due to his age – at that point, there were no junior events. Soon after he quit the sport, disheartened by the experience.

“It was 35 years later that I regained the real joy and excitement of it, which was why it was so important to go to Israel in 2017 and compete in the opens,” Carp said.

“Because I knew I could go as a master for the next 20 or 30 years if I wanted to, but I would never get another opportunity realistically to swim against the opens swimmers. So, the significance of 2017 was huge and that makes this Pan-American opportunity even more significant because I’ve never participated as a masters swimmer representing the Australian Maccabi movement so very excited.”

Aussie flagbearer Barry Carp (L) with senior management Sam Gamsu, Giselle Berlinski and Simone Cohen

To make things even sweeter, Carp will be joined in the Australian squad by his 17-year-old son Harry, who will take to the court for the Youth Basketball team.

“What an experience to share with my 17-year-old son, in a place like Mexico City with all these amazing volunteers who bring this all together,” he said.

“My wife and daughter will be there as well, so just an incredible opportunity.”

Carp currently holds a total of 12 state and national swimming records, and won a bronze medal at the World Masters Championships in Budapest back in 2017.