Sophomore Thrives in Two Sports

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Keiryn Swenson

Junior Keiryn Swenson looks for a clear pass against Oklahoma Baptist Nov. 3.

Walking from Bud Walton Arena to John McDonnell Field has become a routine for one student athlete. Sophomore Keiryn Swenson does not only compete in basketball, she also throws javelin for the Razorbacks’ track and field squad.

Swenson has impressed her teammates with her work ethic and dedication to both track and field and basketball.

Senior forward Jessica Jackson said Swenson is able to manage the busy lifestyle of a dual-sport athlete.

“Keiryn, like she works hard,” Jackson said. “She goes out there and gives it her all every time. She hustles for every play; she has a knack for the ball. She will go out there every time and give it her all, that's the one thing about Keiryn. Whether it’s in a sprint or a box-out drill, Keiryn’s going to go hard.”

Swenson is from Wichita, Kansas, attended Maize High School and was named Kansas’ 2014 female Gatorade Track Athlete of the Year after winning the Class 6A javelin with a throw of 148 feet 4 inches.

Swenson was also named a three-star basketball recruit and originally committed to the University of Tulsa, but, after her visit to Fayetteville, she withdrew her commitment.

Razorback women’s basketball head coach Jimmy Dykes has been impressed with Swenson’s determination.

“She never looks for a short cut,” Dykes said. “If anything, she’s one of those kids that we have to make sure that she’s not in the weight room too much and she’s not doing too much during track season and trying to juggle both sports.”

Being an athlete was in Swenson’s blood. Her mother and father both ran track during their time at Fort Hays State University in Kansas. Swenson’s dad was a three-time conference champion and named collegiate All-America in 1992 and 1993 for track and field while at Fort Hays State University. In 1993, he was named top 100 NCAA All-America by the National Strength and Conditioning Association.

Swenson focuses on the present and believes what she accomplishes during track will be evident on the basketball court.

“It’s definitely beneficial, the strength that goes between the two sports; for me at least, they benefit each other and they go hand in hand,” Swenson said. “When I improve and get stronger in one, it actually helps me in the other.”

Swenson said she thinks physical strength isn't the only similarity the two teams share.

“A lot of the girls are similar, between the two teams,” Swenson said. “We are all friends with each other, so it makes it really easy and I don’t feel like I have to share my time with both of the teams. I have really great friendships and relationships with a lot of people on both teams.”

After winning a national title with track and field last year, Swenson is shooting for a second one this year, hoping to lead the basketball team to its first championship.

“It would be a dream come true,” she said.

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