Swinson gunning for Games gold
Shannon Swinson heads into the Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games with mixed emotions.
“I am excited and nervous at the same time,” the 22-year-old Beamsville resident said. “I am a little nervous because it is my first time going to something like that.”
She has a plan in mind to overcome her nerves.
“I am going to get it done and get it over with.”
The 2019 Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations’ silver medalist in the 100-metre and 800-metre girls intellectually disabled division qualified for the Games by winning the 100 metres and 200 metres at the Ontario trials at York University. Not only did she cross the line first in the two events but she recorded personal bests in both races.
She has big goals for the upcoming Games in Niagara.
“I want to win,” the Niagara Olympic Club member said. “I have to run faster, beat my times and get PBs.”
Her larger goal is to make Canada’s Special Olympics team.
“I think I have a good chance of making it and this (Canada Games) is a step towards it.”
Running is her passion and her release.
“I can take my anger out on it and it allows me to focus on running more than anything else.”
Swinson, who works at a coffee shop in Beamsville, is excited about the whole Games experience.
“I am not going to the Opening Ceremonies but I am going to the closing ones. They have so many kids going that they split us in half.”
Swinson has been running with the Niagara Olympic Club for more than six years
“She has been training very hard, she is focused and she is so excited to compete in the Canada Games,” NOC coach Sharon Stewart said.
There are a number of reasons why Swinson is a successful runner.
“She follows the pattern and the workout diligently,” Stewart said. “She is also very flexible because sometimes the events are the 100 and 200 metres and sometimes it is the 800. She has also done cross country.”
Stewart has seen a lot of progress in the athlete over the past few years and it is the result of two factors.
“It is her focus and her discipline.”
The 2018 OFSAA cross country bronze medalist brings a lot of intangibles to the track.
“As a club athlete, we really appreciate her leadership, skills and guidance to younger athletes, especially when she helps newcomers get used to the warmup and the way we do things,” Stewart said.
Swinson is glad to help out in any way that she can.
“I share my experience. I pull them in and say to follow along and see how you like it,” she said. “Someone did it for me so I do it back for them.”
Swinson will compete in the 100 metres on Aug. 16 and 19 and in the 200 metres on Aug. 17 and 20. The track and field events are being staged at Canada Games Park from Aug 16 to 20.