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Carla Swart - In Memoriam
By Vaughn Trevi
Date: 1/19/2011
Carla Swart - In Memoriam

In Memoriam - Carla Swart
Top international cycling talent, Carla Swart died in a tragic accident while on a training ride

Carla Swart one of South Africa’s top female cyclists was tragically killed this morning when a truck crashed into her while she was training on the road to Marquard in the Freestate.

Carla Swart Women's World Cup Ronde van Drenthe Team Presentation
Photo © 2011 Bart Hazen
Photo © 2011 Bart Hazen

Barry Austin, Cycling South Africa’s team manager, who saw the accident happen said Swart turned around right in front of the oncoming truck moments after she had lost her cycling computer.

“I could see how the driver pushed as hard as he could on his breaks. He even swerved to the right so as to avoid smashing into Swart, but it was to no avail. The truck hit Swart full on, flinging her into the air,” Austin said. Swart unfortunately died before she reached the hospital.

According to Austin, Swart was doing time trialing exercises when the accident happened. “I was following behind in my car. As we got to a slight incline on the road I saw Swart pressing one of the buttons on her cycling computer. I think she was trying to get an interval reading. The next moment her computer was flying through the air and landed somewhere in the veld.

“I immediately stopped to retrieve it. As I got out of my car a truck passed me from behind. I did not really take notice of it.

2010 was a great cycling year for Swart. Not only did she finish 10th in the women’s race at the World Road Championship in Australia. She was also 8th at the Commonwealth Games in India and finished 10th in World Cup race.

Deon Swart, her dad, wrote the following on her facebook wall.
“Carla'dad here. We all know Carla has claimed her place in Heaven. She was in an cycling accident today in South Africa while training. Thanks to everyone that was so involved in her life and career. RIP Carla. What more can I say at this stage.
Swart was 23 and represented South Africa at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi where she finished as the highest-placed SA rider in eighth position in the women's road race.

Born in Graaff-Reinet and hailed from George, South Africa. Swart rode for the HTC-Highroad women's team.

Carla was signed to the  top ranked HTC Highroad squad this year. The HTC site posted a salute this morning:

"Carla, in such a short time you became part of our family and touched us all with your vibrant personality and your constant smile. You infected us with your zest for life and we will forever have you in our hearts.
Our wishes go out to Carla's family and loved ones."

Drenthe world cup presentation where Carla placed 8th in 2009.

Carla's family moved to Georgia where she started racing with the started racing in 2005 with the Fulton Flyers (junior team). and made her mark while riding in collegiate racing  on the Lees McRae collegiate cycling team where she pursued a degree in sport management major with a minor in business.

Swart excelled on the Lees Mcrae team  becoming the first woman to win all the collegiate championships in track, road, criterium and mountain bike in 2008. She was a fierce competitor and her first year concentrating on road racing started off brilliantly with an 8th at the Ronde Van Drenthe World Cup and won the best young rider's jersey at the Tour de l'Aude, as well as the bronze medal in the South African TT national championships.

You can learn more about her in her own words in the 2009 Bart Hazen interview : The Talented Miss Carla Swart

We wish to extend our condolences to Carla's family, friends and team mates around the world. She will be missed by the fans as we will all miss the impact she would have had on the sport in the coming years.

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