Shiloh’s Grant Swinton has been selected as the Daily Post’s track and field super six. (Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan)
Grant Swinton will never forget the first time he appeared in the Gwinnett Daily Post.
He was a sophomore on the front of the sports section in a photo displayed prominently across the page.
Except it wasn’t the most flattering photo (HERE).
The Shiloh runner was diving toward the finish line in the 400-meter run at the Gwinnett County Championship.
“My determination. I was trying to win it because I was tired of losing,” Swinton said of the photo.
Swinton ended up losing the race by .01 seconds, but it was a turning point for his career.
Now a senior at Shiloh two years later, Swinton has become one of the nation’s elite runners. He won the Class AAAAAA state championship last year and earned All-American status at Junior Nationals. The gifted athlete is hoping to do more damage this season.
“He’s just an unbelievable talent with incredible range,” first-year Shiloh coach Rob Blaszkiewicz said. “He can do the sprints, jumps and relays. He’s a points monster.”
Blaszkiewicz went to a few of Shiloh’s practices last season and could tell right away there was something special about Swinton.
Swinton won the state championship in the 400 with a time of 48.30 seconds. It’s not a blazing time, but it was in the rain at the state meet.
“I do not like to run in the rain. Thank God I had the discipline to run my race,” Swinton said.
He also placed sixth in the 200 with a time of 22.40 and was on the fifth-place 1,600 relay team. Swinton also qualified for state in the long jump, but did not participate in the event.
That was just the beginning of a big junior year for Swinton. He posted a time of 47.30, a personal record, at the USATF Junior Nationals to place fifth and earn All-American honors.
That time attracted college recruiters and Swinton committed to Mississippi State.
“It felt like home,” he said of the decision. “They were the first school that fell in love with me. They were the first school to recruit me.”
Swinton’s rise to success has taken nearly a decade. He started running when he was 8, but admits he wasn’t very good.
“I wasn’t very dedicated,” he said.
Then Swinton got to high school and realized he could use track as a way to get to college. He began working out regularly and changed his mentality toward track. He also started training with Denzel Abrams and the Tachyon Track Club.
“My dedication and mentality on things changed,” Swinton said. “I started to work out and learn.”
Swinton spent last summer working with Abrams and former Olympic gold medalist Chris Brown from the Bahamas. Swinton picked up pointers on his technique and also scored a pair of brand new Adidas spikes after his got worn out.
“I was just so happy and thankful for them,” Swinton said.
Swinton hopes the bright yellow spikes will carry him to another state title. One thing he’s learned for sure is to not dive at the finish line.
“I’m not going to do that again. That hurt too much. That track is unforgiving,” he said. “It’s hilarious when you look back on it. But in the heat of the moment, that’s not even funny.”