JOHANNESBURG - Carla Swart, a South African cyclist who won several college titles in the United States, has died after being hit by a truck while training. She was 23.

Swart was training Wednesday in the central Free State province when she turned into the path of an advancing truck, Cycling South Africa said. After dropping her cycling computer, she looked over her shoulder to check if the road was clear and made a U-turn that put her in the path of the truck. She apparently looked over her left shoulder, as one would if cycling in the United States, instead of the right. In South Africa, vehicles drive on the left.

"I think she would have been the greatest cyclist in our history if she had lived," said CyclingSA director Hendrik Lemmer.

Swart, who moved to the United States with her family as a teen, attended Lees-McRae College in North Carolina. She won 19 individual and team cycling titles with Lees-McRae, becoming the first cyclist to win all four U.S. collegiate titles - road, track, mountain and cyclocross - in one season in 2008, according to the school.

"Carla represented everything you want in a student-athlete; she was caring, compassionate and competitive. Her impact on so many will last a long time," Lees-McRae athletic director Craig McPhail said.

Swart had recently signed with the U.S.-based HTC-Highroad cycling team, whose members wore black armbands yesterday during a race in Australia.

At last year's world championships, Swart finished 10th in the women's road race. She took eighth at the Commonwealth Games in India in October.- AP

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