TNYA Spotlight: Bill Carr

Bill_CarrFearless team announcer Lisa Gilson recently sat down with Bill Carr over cocktails to interview him for a TNYA Spotlight edition. They of course met for drinks at El Centro, where all the kids go after evening practices. Wrapped in an infinite pashmina scarf and donning a red leather mini skirt, Sophia Loren sunglasses and Manolos, Lisa sauntered in the restaurant and found Bill sitting at the bar, sipping a frozen margarita and reeking of chlorine, dry skin and goggle eyes.

LG: So listen, just a little background here, the Board thought it might be nice to spotlight a longstanding swimmer on the team that a lot of new people might not have had a chance to get to know yet.

BC: So you mean the Board told you to find an old fart in lane 4 or 5 to talk to so the young kiddies who swim 10x100s on 1:00 while giggling the whole time can learn about the way it was?

LG: I wouldn’t put it like that.

BC: OK, who put you up to this?

LG: No comment, and I’m the one doing the interview here, so simmer down and let me ask the questions.

BC: Okay fine.

LG: Are you always this bossy?

BC: Not a great opening question. And you know the answer to that.

LG: Starting over. How long have you been on the team?

BC: God. It’s been 14 years. [Orders another drink]

LG: Wow, that’s a really long time. Ever thought of serving on the Board?

BC: I was on the Board for four years and served as President, VP, Treasurer and Team Announcer. Unlike Michael Bloomberg, I have no interest in a third term.

LG: So you’ve swum with a lot of coaches given your tenure on the team. What would your coaches say they remember the most about you?

BC: That I’m blind as a bat and have not once ever been able to see a set written on the board. And I can barely hear them with all the water in my ears, so those two factors make for a charming combination. They also might say something about my ability to direct a lane, even when I’m the last swimmer in the lane. It might have something to do with that first question you asked me. [Eats chips and salsa]

LG: I have no idea what you’re talking about. Do you have a favorite event that you like to swim?

BC: I used to like the crazy distance events like the 400 IM and the 1500 Free because I felt like those events always put a little more hair on my chest. Now that my chest is pretty full of hair, I’ve been thinking that shorter distances might work better. Also, I had a shoulder injury a couple years ago that affected my backstroke, so I’m still not 100% with IM at this point.

LG: What’s your best non-freestyle stroke?

BC: I regret to say that it’s butterfly. I wish it wasn’t, because it’s so painful, but that’s just how it is.

LG: Do you enjoy open water swimming?

BC: Funny. It took me about 10 years of open water swimming to realize that I don’t really enjoy open water swimming. I’ve done lots of races – 10Ks, the Stonewall swim, 2.4 mile swims. I find the swims over one mile to be so isolating and lonely, and I love swimming for the witty banter between sets. Being as pale as a vampire doesn’t help either, and one time I went swimming at Brighton Beach and we ended up being surrounded by literally a million jelly fish, which freaked me out beyond belief. So basically, I’ll do a one mile open water race that has Coast Guard stationed every quarter mile.

LG: What’s your most embarrassing moment on the team?

BC: [Orders another drink] Two things: what I wore to this past year’s holiday banquet, and at swim camp one year, I did a deck change that didn’t execute exactly the way I wanted, and way too many campers saw way more ginger than were ever prepared for.

LG: What do you think about the team currently?

BC: I am astonished that the team just gets better every year. The people we are able to attract year after year, the quality of swimmers, water polo players, and divers are all just amazing. I’m extremely proud to be a member of this team. We are a force to be reckoned with.

[Clinks glasses]