Nov. 10, 2003
Finishing up her first season on the women's cross country team, freshman Lauren Swigart has helped lead the team to a first-ever West regional ranking of 10th. Swigart led the way for the Broncos at last weekend's West Coast Conference Championships with her fifth-place finish. Sports Editor Brian Betz managed to catch up with the runner for a few minutes Tuesday to discuss her performance, her preparation for races and even her forgetfulness to bring socks to practice.
BB: Was your fifth place finish at the WCC Championships your best collegiate run to date?
LS: Because it was one of the most important meets we've ran this year. It wasn't my highest placing finish but it was definitely my most important finish in terms of the team scoring.
BB: So what was your best individual race of the year then?
LS: I set my PR (personal record) at the Willamette Invitational but Crystal Springs (site of the WCC Championships) is much harder of a course.
BB: What's been the hardest course you've run?
LS: Crystal Springs.
BB: Why do you feel you ran so well at Crystal Springs?
LS: The workouts we had been doing the last couple weeks with Tom [Service] had just worked out real well and our bodies just reacted really well. And so just increasing the mileage, increasing the intensity.
BB: Would you say that, mentally, the vibe of the team is as important as your individual mentality going into the race?
LS: Absolutely, absolutely.
BB: Do you know before a race starts whether or not you'll run well?
LS: I think so.
BB: What things contribute to your mental preparation right before a race?
LS: At districts I would have to say it was the support we had from our parents, our coach, and the huge fan contingency. We're standing at the starting line and it's almost like a gauntlet of fans on each side. And they start cheering "SCU, SCU" and the race instructor is trying to explain the rules, you know, when they're going to fire the gun, and you can't hear a word they're saying.
BB: Give me your 24-hour preparation before a race.
LS: Wow. The routine almost starts a week before the race. Get nine hours of sleep every night of the week. You can't get 10 hours the night before to compensate, that just doesn't work. Eating right. Nothing that will upset your stomach. Pasta dinner the night before the race is a must and then a banana before the race.
BB: How long has running been a passion?
LS: Since eighth grade. It instantly clicked.
BB: What is it about running that you love? Because to me there's no major excitement, just pain.
LS: Ha, ha. It's one of the most challenging sports out there. It's that you can be different because it's not something that many people enjoy. You get a lot of respect because when you tell people you're a cross country runner it's not something that many people do.
BB: You like to hike, backpack, snowboard etc. Do you consider yourself an outdoors person?
LS: An active, athletic person. Our family trips are always hiking trips to the Grand Canyon or I'll go biking with my dad on the weekends or me and my sister will go backpacking during the summer.
BB: I hear you're the team photographer.
LS: Ha, ha.
BB: Why are you so big with the camera?
LS: I got a digital camera about two months ago for my birthday and it has been the greatest gift ever. I take it to every single meet, every single cross country event and I just take pictures and then E-mail them to everyone. I'll probably be making the end of the year slide show for the team. Our team has made up a sound track and I'll get to add songs.
BB: Your song on the team CD is Eminem's "Lose Yourself." Why did you choose that?
LS: The whole first segment of the song where he's talking about having that "one chance" to prove yourself, or rise up to the challenge is something that I feel I can really relate to.
BB: How many times have you forgotten your socks at practice?
LS: Ha, ha. Twice in the same week!
BB: Twice in the same week?!
LS: And I have blisters to prove it.
BB: Did you have to run without socks?
LS: The first time I did. The workout was fine and then at the end there was blood on my shoe. Two days later I forgot them and one of the girls sacrificed her socks to give to me.
BB: Who was that?
LS: Cara Payne.
BB: She deserves a thank-you card or something.
LS: Yeah, well we look out for each other. But I was about to cry when I looked into my bag thinking "how could I do this again?".