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Track and Field: Freshman Swanberg prepares for heptathlon

Greg Hadley | Tuesday, January 29, 2013

For Brent Swanberg, competing in the multi-events is all about one thing: stamina.

The freshman from Manhattan, Ill., has been entering decathlons and heptathlons since he was a junior in high school and even advanced to the USA Track & Field national championships his senior year.

Swanberg will compete in his first collegiate heptathlon at the Big East indoor championship in less than a month alongside veteran seniors Ted Glasnow and Dean Odegard.

The indoor men’s heptathlon consists of the 60-meter dash, 60-meter hurdles, 1,000-meter run, long jump, high jump, pole vault and shot put. The competition takes place over two days, testing the full range of each athlete’s ability.

While Swanberg’s favorite discipline is the high jump, he said the event doesn’t favor one skill set over any other.

“The person who is most technically sound almost always comes out on top,” Swanberg said.

To achieve this technical prowess, the Irish multi-eventers spend copious time training on each event.

“The key is logging a bunch of hours during the week in training,” Swanberg said. “It’s also really important to spend the most time on your worst event.”

Not many meets offer the full event, so to prepare for the championships, Swanberg and Glasnow each competed in the high jump, long jump and 60-meter hurdles at the Indiana Relays this past weekend. Glasnow also ran the 400-meter.

Jim Garnham coaches the Irish decathletes with the wisdom of his extensive experience coaching multi-events and field events for 12 years. Under his tutelage, Irish multi-eventers have earned all-Big East honors nine times. Last year, at the indoor championships, Glasnow and Odegard finished fourth and ninth, respectively.

“He really knows what he’s doing,” Swanberg said of Garnham. “To be successful, you need a good coach and good facilities, and we definitely have both of those here at Notre Dame.”

The Irish next compete Friday and Saturday at the Meyo Invitational, the biggest home meet of the season.

The multi-eventers will make their heptathlon debut at the Big East indoor championships on Feb. 16 and 17.

Contact Greg Hadley at ghadley@nd.edu