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Mother and Olympic coach, Mary can do it all

July 1, 2024

High-performance coach, Mary Carroll will be taking on numerous roles while in Paris for the 2024 Olympic Games, later this month.

As a mother and diving coach, Mary will have more than her schedule to consider. She will be joining her two divers, Rylan Wiens and Margo Erlam for their events in Paris. In addition, her daughter, Sydney Carroll is attending her first Olympics as an alternate with Canada’s artistic swim team.

Over the years, Mary has learned to balance her time as an active coach and mother.

For training, Mary travels with Rylan to Montreal so he can practice with his synchronized diving partner and will organize a visit with Sydney, who also trains in the city. Admittedly, this schedule has allowed Mary to visit her daughter often outside of events.

“I’m fortunate as a diving coach that I get to travel lots. I always say we will come to Montreal, so I can see my daughter,” laughed Mary, who is attending her second Olympics as a coach and attended as an athlete in 1992 Barcelona.

Although there have been artistic swimming events that she could not attend due to conflicts in scheduling, being a diving coach has proven to be an asset during competitions. Mary will often stand on the pool deck and watch Sydney compete during breaks in diving events.

“At competitions like the World Championship and now the Olympics, I get front row seats to watch [Sydney].”

Mary believes that the 2024 World Aquatics Championships in Doha gave her a feel for what the Olympic Games may be like as a mother and coach.

“Sydney’s artistic swim team were one pool away from us. As Rylan was competing, my husband was texting me about Sydney. There were lots of memorable moments in Doha,” said Mary.

On the same day Rylan solidified his individual and synchro spot for the Olympics, Sydney achieved the same with Canada’s artistic swim team. According to Sydney, it was her favorite moment in her sporting career so far.

Rylan recalls the moment that Mary received the news, stating, “normally mid-competition it’s a serious and stable environment, however, Mary couldn’t hide her excitement and told me mid-event. It was a pretty cool moment to be a part of.”

Unlike Rylan and Margo, Sydney still had to wait for the team’s roster to be released following Canada qualifying a spot in Doha.

After months of waiting, Sydney made sure that when she was named to one of nine spots on Canada’s Olympic artistic swim team, Mary was one of the first to find out.

“It was pretty stressful,” admitted Mary. “Both of my divers [qualified] and I was saying ‘please, please let Sydney make it.’…so it was a nice call from her telling us she got the spot. It was pretty exciting.”

The excitement of all three athletes qualifying is shared by more than Mary. As the Olympic Games draw near, the entire group looks forward to their time in Paris together.

“I’ve known Sydney and Margo since I was seven years old, so to come full circle and be going to the Olympic Games with both of them is very special,” said Rylan.

Margo feels similar, stating, “it’s truly amazing to experience this moment with close friends. It’s been really special to be a part of all three of their journeys and now we all get to live out our dreams together.” 

With the foursome now set to attend the Paris Olympic Games together, they look forward to having a break in conflicting schedules. Artistic swimming and diving are set to take place in the same pool at the Aquatics Centre, allowing Mary to soak up the best of both worlds.

“It works out, I’m pleased as a coach, I’m pleased as a parent. 2024 has been a pretty special year,” exclaimed Mary.

Diving will take place July 27 to August 10 (Day 2 to 15) and artistic swimming will compete August 5-10 (Days 10-15) at the Aquatics Centre venue in Paris.

Further details and athletes’ full schedules are to come.