MEDFORD, Mass. - The Tufts University men's cross country team is approaching the championship season with the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Championship being next Saturday (Oct. 28). Junior Christian Swenson, a three-year member of the Jumbo team, will look be a factor in the race at Bates College. Tufts is attempting to improve upon last year's finish when they tied for third, with Swenson scoring fourth for the Jumbos.
Swenson was Tufts' second finisher overall in the Purple Valley Classic back in September. He has also competed this season at the Bates Invitational, the Paul Short Invitational, and the Connecticut College Invitational, finishing 26th overall at Bates. Last spring, Swenson emerged as a national qualifier during the outdoor track season. He popped a 3:49.25 in the 1,500 meters which ranked as the #8 mark for the NCAA's. He went on to finish 14th in the 1,500 meters final in his first-ever NCAA event for the Jumbos.
GoTuftsJumbos.com recently caught up with Christian to see what he learned from that expereince and how he hopes to carry that success over into this current campaign.
Question: When and why did you starting doing cross country and what was your top achievement in high school?
Answer: I started cross country my freshman year of high school. I did it because my sister was good at swimming and I wanted to beat her in another sport. My top achievement in cross country in high school was placing 28th in the Illinois State Meet my junior year of high school. It was a big PR and set the stage for the next couple years of running.
Q: How did competing in the outdoor track season and qualifying for NCAAs last year help prepare you for this season?
A: The experience of going up against such great competition (during the regular season) makes it easier mentally going into races later in the season to compete with those same friends. In the spring, I really focused on getting into the aerobic shape that I missed out on earlier in the season. I had already developed the speed I needed and getting into great shape was key in improving at the end of the season.
Q: What are your hopes for this season?
A: We hope to make nationals as a team. For the team to be successful, we have to work together as a pack and work hard to stay up front in races. Fighting though pain as a team makes everything easier.
Q: Do you have any pre-race routines that you follow?
A: The Magic Bean, aka caffeine pills, is the key to waking me up and getting ready for my race.
Q: What made you decide to come to Tufts back when you were making that decision?
A: The Boston area as well as the strong academics of Tufts. Also, our cross country coach Michael Schmidt and did a fantastic job of selling the team. The most important thing when considering the school was when Schmitty mentioned to me how close the team was. Being in a strong team environment was something that appealed to me and helped my decision to come to Tufts.
Q: What's something you enjoy doing in your free time?
A: Some things that I do enjoy in my free time are hanging out with my team in Dewick (dining hall) for as long as possible, eating every great food in the Boston area that I can, and reading whatever I can find.
Q: Do you have a favorite place on campus?
A: Dewick is everyone on the team's favorite place. We have our back section where we like to hang out. It's very important to us.
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