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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    McSwain sprints toward goals

    Wildcat sprinter Chris McSwain runs a relay during practice at Drachman Stadium on Wednesday. The freshman is trying to qualify for the NCAA Regional Championships in Eugene, Ore.
    Wildcat sprinter Chris McSwain runs a relay during practice at Drachman Stadium on Wednesday. The freshman is trying to qualify for the NCAA Regional Championships in Eugene, Ore.

    The Arizona track and field athletes will travel north to compete in the Sun Angel Classic today in Tempe, Ariz.

    Most of the athletes are trying to qualify for the NCAA Regional Championships in Eugene, Ore., while others have already qualified and are simply trying to improve their marks to prepare for the championships.

    Freshman sprinter Chris McSwain is one of those people trying to qualify for regionals, as he continues to learn the basics of track. McSwain, a native of Las Vegas, didn’t start running track until his senior year at Mojave high school.

    “”At first, I played baseball and we weren’t very good so I decided to run track,”” McSwain said. “”I just did it because I knew I was fast growing up. I didn’t think I was going to get a scholarship.””

    Though McSwain had no experience before his senior year, he was able to finish third in the 400-meter and fourth in the 200m at the 2008 Nevada State 4A Championships. After the track season was over, McSwain didn’t foresee himself at a big-name university, let alone a Pacific 10 Conference school.

    “”I thought I was going to be at a community college, but I knew I wanted to go somewhere in Arizona because my brother lived here,”” McSwain said.

    McSwain’s brother, James McSwain, is a former track and field athlete at Washington State. He is part of the reason that his younger brother wears an Arizona uniform. James contacted Arizona head coach Fred Harvey and suggested the Wildcats take a look at his younger brother.

    “”His basic times were pretty good his senior year,”” Harvey said. “”When his older brother, James, contacted us about him, that gave us a chance to look at his progress.””

    After hearing the news, the younger McSwain was thrilled at the fact that he would be competing at the Division I level.

    “”I think I just got lucky because I didn’t think I was going to be able to go to a university … I didn’t think I was good enough,”” he said. “”I came here because of coach Harvey. I knew he was a good coach and he was the best coach for me.””

    Last weekend at the Jim Click Shootout, McSwain finished with his personal bests in the 100 and 200 meters. After completing the sprints, both Harvey and assistant coach Dawn Boxley walked to McSwain to congratulate him on a good job in achieving his personal best.

    McSwain, however, didn’t seem satisfied with his results.

    “”I thought I did all right but I know the coaches know I can be better,”” McSwain said. “”It’s not really about me, it’s about proving the coaches right that I am good. I feel that I’m one of the hardest workers so I expect a lot more out of myself.””

    Though he has not yet qualified for a regional championship, Harvey has confidence that McSwain will eventually become the athlete he has envisioned.

    “”The natural ability is absolutely there. It’s just the matter of learning to compete at this level on the consistent basis,”” Harvey said. “”We’re really working diligently on keeping him focused and understanding that everything he does is really important, in terms to his development.””

    “”I definitely think that he has an opportunity of making the NCAA Regional Championships this season – it’s definitely within his grasp,”” Harvey added.

    Though McSwain made progress last weekend, he is looking forward to taking a huge step forward as he attempts to qualify for the West Regional Championships this weekend at the Sun Angel Classic.

    “”Regionals is what I’m striving for and that is why I was upset because I didn’t qualify with that (personal best) time,”” McSwain said. “”My goal is to qualify for regionals, and until then, I won’t be happy.””

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