COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Natalia Vega will take over as Board of Directors Athlete Representative for a one-year term, replacing Carrie Barton-Garten who stepped down from her role this week. Carrie’s term began in 2020 and she has been instrumental in the creation and adaptation of the Athlete Bill of Rights as well as a passionate advocate for athletes within our sport community. The 2000 Olympian is an accomplished professional and busy mother of has selflessly served on both the BOD and Athlete Executive Committee for the past year. We thank Carrie for her time spent in the role and look forward to seeing the impact she continues to make as a member of our community even without an official title.
Natalia will be stepping in to finish Carrie’s term, serving as the new Athlete Representative until next year’s convention. Natalia will have much on her plate but will be an exceptional representative for athletes with herrecent experience within USA Artistic Swimming. A 2021 graduate of University of Incarnate Word, Natalia was instrumental in her team getting back on the podium at the 2021 U.S. Collegiate Championship. She helped her team to a third-place finish and was named a Collegiate Athlete of the Year. She has represented USA on the international stage as a national team athlete, including competing alongside Bill May in the mixed duet category at the 2019 FINA World Championships. Recently, Natalia has made the move to Los Angeles to rejoin the national team program and take her place as a senior national team athlete as the squad prepares for the 2022 World Championships. We look forward to Natalia’s perspective helping the organization remain athlete-focused.
Natalia is excited to make the most of her time in the role and leave an impact on the organization: “I’m extremely grateful and excited to serve our sport in the pool as well as on the board. I hope to make a lasting impact on future generations of athletes and work towards a stronger artistic swimming community for all.”
“My time as an Athlete Representative for USAAS was no doubt meant to be a part of my journey. I was inspired by our amazing athletes on our national team that represented the USA at Olympic Trials and the Olympics: their grit and class set the bar high for our sport. I was inspired by our athletes who made their grand entrance in the AWD division-their passion could be felt a million miles away. I was inspired by all the grass roots clubs across the country making an impact and helping to grow our sport. I was inspired by the growing diversity of our athletes, board and leadership that has truly made a positive impact on the future success of this organization. My goal was to give back to a sport that gave so much to me, but I have been humbled to learn from and grow from this experience. Natalia’s perspective and presence will be an amazing addition, and I can’t wait to watch her succeed. I am rooting for the athletes, the coaches, the judges, the volunteers, and parents of this amazing sport, and of course my team-this board,” Carrie said.