Remembering Carla Swart
Carla was a part of the Highroad family for a short time but her vibrant zest for life and beautiful character will live in our hearts each day forward. We lost her to a tragic road accident in January of 2011.
Carla was from South Africa and loved her homeland. She also loved bike racing, all bike racing in every form, in all conditions, against any competitor. Her passion and talent led her to success and a promising future. Racing for Lees-McRae College, she won national collegiate titles in all categories: road, mountain bike, cyclocross and track. In 2010 she took 10th place in the UCI World Road Championships, an amazing result for such a young rider. She was intensely focused on her big goal of becoming one of the best in the world with HTC-Highroad in the coming years.
Above all, Carla was a loving daughter and sister. In a recent interview she explained how she was inspired by her parents. The Swart family immigrated to the United States in 2003 as her father Deon was brave enough to start a new life in an unfamiliar country so that Carla would have great opportunities. She admired her mother for her constant support and dedication to her family while at the same time fighting serious illness. Karen Swart was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis 20 years ago. Her mother’s strength always inspired Carla to do well.
Carla’s Circle is a fund that we created to help Carla's family and to help them continue Carla's interests. Direct donations can be made below with 100% of the proceeds going to the Swart Family.
Learn about Carla's Circle
About Carla's Career
The first athlete ever to secure US collegiate titles in all cycling disciplines in a single year, new HTC-Highroad recruit Carla Swart could easily have 'versatility' as her middle name. However, adapting successfully has always been part of Swart's life, who was born in South Africa, but moved with her family to Georgia in the USA aged 15. As if that change wasn't big enough, Swart then headed to Lees-McRae College in North Carolina in 2006 to take on a joint scholarship in not one but two sports, cycling and running.
Swart's breakthrough season was 2008 when she secured collegiate championships in MTB, track, cyclo-cross and road-racing. Overall she took 19 national titles, a total never previously before achieved by any US collegiate cyclist. Given her multiple talents, it's not surprising when Swart said, "it's been kind of hard to figure out which direction to head in my professional career. I do well in climbing but in sprints I don't do badly, so maybe I'll focus on being a good all-round rider for now and see where that takes me."
In her fullest year racing with professional squads, in 2010, Swart showed promising results in all kinds of terrain and all over the world.
She scored eighth in the notoriously difficult Ronde Van Drenthe World Cup classic in Holland, captured the Best Young Rider's award in the Tour de L'Aude stage race in France, won the the sprinter's jersey in the Cascade Classic in the USA and clinched bronze in both the national time trial and road titles back home in South Africa. "My result in Drenthe was the one I was most satisfied with," Swart says, "because it was the first time I got a top ten in a World Cup event in my first block of international classic racing. Half-way through the race I got away and and got a big gap on the field, and it was amazing how it worked out in the end."