Pole vaulter Swift rebounding from injury

Hannah Swift is soaring again.

The Pekin High School pole vaulter has recovered from a wrist injury that derailed her junior season this spring and setting her sights on a successful summer season.

She’s off to a good start.

Despite snapping her pole on her first attempt of the meet, she won the 17-18 age group title last month at the USATF Illinois Championships in Lisle with an outdoor personal-best and meet record-tying 12-foot, 6-inch vault.

Carbon fiber poles, which cost hundreds of dollars, aren’t supposed to break, but Swift has done it three times.

Swift had a similarly strange experience this spring during warmups before a high school invitational in Rock Island.

A gust of wind pushed her sideways and she suffered a sprained wrist when she landed.

“It was a freak accident,” she said.

Swift didn’t practice until just before sectionals and even though she qualified for the Illinois High School Association Class 3A track and field state meet, she didn’t place at state for the first time in her prep career.

“My wrist wasn’t a factor at state, but my rhythm was off,” she said. “Pole vault is a lot about rhythm, hitting your mark.”

Swift began the high school season on a great note, winning the Class 3A Illinois Prep Top Times indoor state title at Illinois Wesleyan University with an indoor personal-best and meet-record 12-8 1/2 vault.

With Pekin’s pole vault pit unavailable, Swift has been working this summer at Metamora High School with private coach Melissa Eigsti.

Her competition schedule resumes this weekend. Swift will participate in the Grand Haven (Mich.) Beach Vault and USATF Junior Olympic Regional meet in Huntington, Ind.

A top-five finish in her age group at the regional would qualify her for the USATF National Junior Olympic meet later this month in Humble, Texas.

She finished ninth two years ago in the national meet in the 15-16 age group, missing a medal by one spot.

Pekin is the third high school the well-traveled Swift has attended. She went to Canton as a freshman and Clinton as a sophomore and finished third in the pole vault in the Class 2A and Class 1A state meets, respectively.

She’s moved around because of her mother’s jobs and a family illness.

Candice Swift was the principal at Canton and Clinton when her daughter was a student there, but no longer works in education.

Hannah Swift is just another student at Pekin and mother and daughter both said they’re enjoying the experience.



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