What Can’t He Do?

Swabik Picks Up Three New Events, Wins Decathlon In NC

Jamestown Striders’ John Swabik competes in the long jump portion of the decathlon during the first day of the USATF Youth Outdoor Championships on Monday in Durham, N.C. Photo courtesy of USATF

DURHAM, N.C. — Fresh off a state title, John Swabik is taking the competition up a notch.

Competing for Chautauqua Striders in the USA Track & Field Youth Outdoor Championships on Tuesday and Wednesday at Durham County Memorial Stadium, Swabik won the decathlon with 5,660 points.

“He’s a tremendous athlete. He had to do three events that he’s never competed in before,” said David Reinhardt, Chautauqua Striders director of athletics. “We had a little over two weeks to coach him in the javelin, discus and pole vault. Those are all very technical events, especially the pole vault and javelin.”

Swabik was the only competitor in the 15-16 boys category, but he also beat three athletes in the 17-18 men division.

“He’s just an all-around athlete,” Reinhardt said. “He had a little bit of a tight hamstring after the state meet so we weren’t able to do a lot of real good sprint work.”

John Swabik displays his gold medal after winning the decathlon. Submitted photo

On Tuesday, Swabik earned 709 points with an 11.71 in the 100 meters before adding 559 points with a leap of 5.87 meters in the long jump. The soon-to-be junior at Sherman Central School followed that up with a throw of 10.75 meters for 531 points in the shot put and cleared 1.80 meters for 627 points in the high jump before finishing the opening day with a time of 53.21 seconds in the 400 meters to add 673 points.

“As far as the long jump, the 400 and 100 hurdles, any of those running events it was tough to really push him,” Reinhardt said. “That allowed us to spend a little more time in those throwing events, the javelin, shot put and discus.”

Entering Wednesday, Swabik had 3,099 points.

“We sort of set a target of 6,000 points,” Reinhardt said, “so we were a little bit ahead of where we wanted to be.”

A time of 16.24 seconds in the 110-meter hurdles kicked off his Wednesday with 706 points before a discus heave of 25.42 meters gave him 375 more points.

“The first day were all events he had done before,” Reinhardt said, “and the second day with the heat and those newer events, we fell off a little bit.”

Swabik then cleared 3.35 meters in the pole vault for 343 points and threw the javelin 33.11 meters for 343 points before ending the decathlon with a time of 4:38.06 in the 1,500 meters for 693 more points.

“The head coach at Jamestown, Steve Sipior, works with our pole vaulters and he worked with John. In about three short practices, he jumped almost 11 feet — actually 10 feet, 11 3/4 inches — which is just amazing for never competing in a real event. Jumping that at a national championship is quite an accomplishment.”

The top 17-18 competitor Ian Hoffman finished with 4,458 points while James Amodei had 3,880 and Erik Amodei had 3,026.

Swabik’s performance qualifies him for the Junior Olympic National Championships set for July 22-28 in Sacramento, California.

This was good practice for him to feel what it feels like going two days, 10 events,” Reinhardt said. “Everything will be the same as far as order and the format of the competition out there. If anything, with so few kids he didn’t have as much rest. Normally you’ll have a longer time for those kids to all compete.”

At the Junior Olympics, he’ll hope to become Chautauqua Striders’ first All-American since 2013 when Mckenna Maycock finished in the top eight in both the 400-meter hurdles and the heptathlon.

“If he commits to the next three weeks, we’re going to hit 6,000 points,” Reinhardt said. “Going up against the top kids in the country, he’ll certainly compete against the top kids in his age group.”