Not only did the collegiate cycling scene lose the most decorated cyclist it has ever had, but the cycling world lost one of the top young up-and-coming athletes of its time.
Riding for Fort Lewis College, Carla was riding for our top rival school, dominating anything that came in her way. She was an inspiration, whether we liked it or not. In track, cx, mtn, and road, she was there, winning national titles, making way for her team to win, whatever the competition. I had the honor to race with her a few times, and with her, I mean, she was gone, out of sight by the time we went around the first corner.
Her strength and courage, her ability to fight, and win. Her kind spirit and love for the sport. It’s a reminder each day to make a difference in someone’s life, to do your purpose on this earth. Tell those you love, you love them. Spend time with those that have touched your life. Pay it forward. Race your heart out. Give it everything you have.
Today, when I go ride, I’ll be riding in memory of her, and from this day on, no matter how hard something may be, you better believe I will be giving it everything. Carla did. She has passed doing the thing she absolutely loved. Riding, training, striving to become better.
Today is an incredibly sad day. Take a moment of silence for her, her family, Lees McRae College, her friends, her team HTC-Columbia, MTN Women’s Team, and all the people she has touched in her life. At 23 years of age, she’s acquired fans, created memories, and helped others realize that dreams are possible.
This isn’t an easy time for anyone. Those of us, like myself, who had brief conversations with her, was happy she knew your first name….this is heartbreaking. It hits home. It brings you to tears. It makes you hurt. And personally, i feel that is ok. She was an incredible athlete. The tributes that have been wrote about her are full of tears, celebrating her success, marveling at her personality and spirit. She is not someone who will be forgotten. She will be in our hearts for generations to come. I still feel like she is here, like she will show up in Madison for Collegiate Road Nationals. Within the next days, it will come. But yet, she will always be here, in my heart. Riding with me.
“Her new team also paid tribute to her. “Carla was new to our team in 2011 and after only a short amount of time she endeared herself to everybody and became part of our family,” it said. “Her enthusiasm and spirit was engaging and she had the ability to make everybody smile around her. She had a remarkable talent and looked forward to a very bright future. Our thoughts and hearts are with her family and we will honour her in the days and months ahead.” (VeloNation)
She will be missed. Rest in peace, Carla Swart.
To read about her unbelievable achievements, follow this link:
“Our inner strengths, experiences, and truths cannot be lost, destroyed, or taken away. Every person has an inborn worth and can contribute to the human community. We all can treat one another with dignity and respect, provide opportunities to grow toward our fullest lives and help one another discover and develop unique gifts. We each deserve this and we all can extend it to others.”