At the Utica College Invitational, Kyle Swiecki, a senior from Boonville, broke his own school record in the heptathlon on his way to becoming ranked sixth nationally in the event.
The heptathlon, which has seven events, takes place over two days during a single track meet.
“The first day of the track meet there’s four events,” Swiecki said. “Those are the 60 meter, the long jump, the shot put and the high jump.”
The second day of the track meet finishes with the last three events, which are the 60-meter hurdles, the pole vault and the 1,000 meter.
“I beat my record by about 280 points,” Swiecki said.
Swiecki went into the second day with 2,633 points after running the 60-meter dash in 7.43 seconds, throwing the shot put 9.95 meters, jumping 6.55 meters in the long jump and having a clearance of 1.89 meters in the high jump.
Finishing the meet the next day, Swiecki finished the 1,000-meter run with a time of three minutes and two seconds, ran the 60-meter hurdle in 8.90 seconds and cleared 3.65 meters in the pole vault. Swiecki finished the weekend with a score of 4,568, setting a new school record.
Swiecki credited his heptathlon success, in part, to his three practices a day.
“A lot of it is running and also a lot of weight training.” Swiecki said.
Swiecki said that he started running track when he was in sixth grade. In high school, he started doing the hurdle, the long jump and the triple jump.
“When I got to college, I started doing the heptathlon,” Swiecki said.
Swiecki explained that he still has a lot to learn even though he has been doing the heptathlon for three years.
“Pole vault has a lot of technique, so there’s a lot of stuff that I don’t know yet,” he said.
Head coach Eric Parker described the heptathlon as the indoor track version of the decathlon, which the outdoor track team partakes in.
“For each practice session that Kyle has during a week, he’ll practice two to three of the events that will happen at the meet,” Parker said. “He has to have a delicate balance of working on each event.”
Parker said that when Swiecki first came to Utica they did not start him as a heptathlete right away.
“Kyle had to learn how to throw discus and to throw javelin before he could start doing the heptathlon,” Parker said.
Parker said that they developed Swiecki in multiple events, wanting him to learn the different techniques of each event before having him compete in the heptathlons.
“We wanted him to get stronger, faster and more explosive before he started the heptathlons,” Parker said.
Parker explained that during winter break Swiecki and other athletes have four weeks to themselves to try and stay in shape without the guidance of coaches.
“Kyle was one of the kids I saw at the dome almost every single day,” he said.