Sycamore fans will have the opportunity to meet Greggmar Swift on Saturday, Sept. 8th outside of the Mix FM tailgate tent near the stadium entrance. Swift will be signing autographs from 12:45 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. prior to the Indiana State vs. Quincy football game.
By Tina Dechausay
When Indiana State junior Greggmar Swift represented his native Barbados in the 110-meter hurdles at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London, he became the first Olympian in the Sycamore athletics track and field family.
“It’s always a great feeling to be the first to do anything,” Swift said. “Being the first Olympian at Indiana State even means more because that’s what I came here to do. I came here to put Indiana State on the map. We have other athletes here that can also put Indiana State on the map too. This season, all of the Sycamore fans better watch out because Indiana State University track and field is going to be awesome.”
Swift finished fifth in the fourth heat of the first round in the men’s 110-meter hurdles with a time of 13.62. The heat featured defending Olympic champion Dayron Robles of Cuba who won the heat in 13.33 and the USA’s Jeff Porter who was third in 13.53.
“I went into the race thinking I was in pretty good shape, good form, knowing that I could potentially qualify for the semi-finals,” Swift explained. “I knew I was going up against a world-record holder but I didn’t really let any of that get to me. I got off to a flyer of a start and it actually shocked me. I couldn’t believe I got out that fast and I started to panic because that’s not really my race. I just tried to hold on as long as I could and it got me fifth.”
Swift qualified for the 2012 Olympic games in July when he finished second in the Barbados National Track & Field Championships. Fellow Barbadian Ryan Brathwaite won the event with a time of 13.39 while brother Shane Brathwaite placed third in 13.63. The Braithwaite brothers had previously surpassed the “A” standard to earn their spot on the Barbados Olympic Team while Swift had to hit the “A” standard of 13.52 to take the third hurdle position on the team.
“There were so much expectation on my shoulders,” Swift said. “All of Barbados came to the National Stadium to hopefully see three Barbadians qualify for the Olympic games. I don’t even know how they all fit in the stands. It was a lot of pressure but I perform well under pressure and I ran a 13.52, which hit the Qualifying “A” standard right on the head, and the whole stadium just exploded.”
Indiana State Track and Field coach John McNichols was with Swift in London and was instrumental in his preparation. Swift has great respect and admiration for his coach.
“Coach McNichols actually came down early this summer and helped me prepare for the Olympic games and the National Championships at home,” Swift said. “Coach McNichols is a great influence not only on my track career, but also on my social life. He’s so positive. He doesn’t get me down and he helps not only me, but also the whole entire track team. He’s a brilliant coach. Me coming to Indiana State knowing there are bigger schools out there, Coach McNichols was very vital in the process. He is a huge factor on my life. I don’t know what I would do without him as a coach.”
Swift has worked hard to get where he is today and credits so many people for supporting him along the way. His advice to others who aspire to compete at the collegiate, national and even international level is clear and concise.
“For the younger kids, I would say keep it simple and stay focused,” he said. “It doesn’t matter what background you come from or how financially stable you are, once you stay focused on your goals, you’ll reach them. I’m not a kid from a very wealthy background. I saw my mom and my dad struggle to put me through primary and secondary school and if it wasn’t for a full ride here at Indiana State, I wouldn’t be in college in the United States. So I would say, just go out and do your best and I am sure you could achieve what I’ve achieved and even more.”