TAMPA — Jesuit junior Chris Swanson is concentrating on his team’s goals, but the 100 free and 200 free standout is one of the main reasons the Tigers are excited about their prospects in 2010. Swanson is coming off a sixth-place finish in the 200 at last year’s 2A state meet. He was also a state scorer in the 100 and part of two top-seven relay teams. He took time out to talk to the Times about the upcoming season, getting his driver’s license and his breakfast routine.
You and your teammates are going for a 13th straight district title. What does that kind of domination mean to you?
I think that when it comes to that tradition, we want to keep it going because we don’t want to let the people down from before. We want to show that we want to do this for our school. We just want to get it done.
What is the key to continuing the streak and going further in the postseason?
I think the key is going to be the unknown factor, the kids you’ve never heard of. John Simon, Chase Goodwin and I are the kids from the previous years, but I think it’s the other kids, the ones you haven’t heard about, who are going to carry us for a win.
You’re turning 16 pretty soon. What’s going to be more important this fall — getting a state medal or your driver’s license?
Probably a state medal. I’m fine with not driving for now.
What are your personal goals for this year?
I really haven’t thought too much about what I want to do at states and regions. I would rather just see us get our team goals and just do well as Jesuit as a whole.
Do you ever get confused with the Swanson swimmers who come out of Sickles?
Conor, Corey and Kelly, yeah. I haven’t been asked lately. A couple years ago, when Corey was still in the area (swimming at FSU), I would get asked almost every swim meet how my brother was doing. It was pretty funny. Most of the time I would say he wasn’t my brother, but other times I would just say my brother is doing great.
Last question. Do you have any superstitions?
I don’t have any superstitions, but pretty much every morning I eat peanut butter waffles. Usually, between two and four. …Eggo cinnamon waffles with peanut butter on top. I’ve probably eaten those since I was 8. You’re getting me hungry. …You should really try them sometime.
Preseason top five
1. Jesuit: Tigers are searching for a 13th straight district title, but this group has its eyes on a top-five finish at state.
2. Berkeley Prep: Bucs look to improve on top-12 showing last year at state. They are loaded, with their top four swimmers all returning.
3. Sickles: Established as one of strongest programs year in and year out. Andrew Howard will be Sickles’ leader as a senior.
4. Plant: Panthers boys had a breakthrough season last year. Can they build on it?
5. Hillsborough: Top sprinter Jamie Perez and distance standout David Desena lead a promising Terriers team.
Five players to watch
Andreas Hatoum, Sr., Berkeley Prep: Placed 13th in state in 100 breast a year ago
Andrew Howard, Sr., Sickles: One of county’s most versatile swimmers placed 12th in state in the 100 fly and 100 back
John Simon, Sr., Jesuit: Went to state in the 50 and 100 free
Rasmus Skjaerpe, Fr., Tampa Prep: State qualifier in the 100 back as an eighth grader
Chris Swanson, Jr., Jesuit: State scorer in 100 free and 200 free.