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Carla Swart became the first cyclist to win all four U.S. collegiate titles in one season (2008). She placed 10th in the women's road race in the 2010 UCI Road World Championships, and had placed eighth at the Commonwealth Games in October of that year. She signed with the HTC-Highroad cycling team shortly before her death. Her career spanned 21 national titles in four different biking disciplines: cyclo-cross, mountain bike, road, and track.
Swart died whilst training in South Africa after being hit by a truck. It was claimed that she had looked over her left shoulder, as if she were in the United States, instead of her right, as would normally be the case in South Africa where vehicles drive on the left-hand side of the road. HTC–Highroad Women teammate Ellen van Dijk dedicated her stage win and general classification victory at the 2011 Ladies Tour of Qatar to Swart. The prize money Van Dijk earned in Qatar was sent to her family. Lees-McRae College has a scholarship named in her honor.