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Saturday, June 15, 2024
Jason Swarens

Shot putter Jason Swarens courtesy of Carol Chen.

A Badger shot putter aims for the Olympic trials

UW Track and Field athlete Jason Swarens is a hopeful for the 2024 Olympic Trials this summer.

For athletes of all levels, attending the Olympic Games is a dream. However, before athletes can compete at the Olympics, they must first qualify for and succeed at the Olympic Trials. 

Athletes at universities across the country are working toward taking that first step to becoming Olympians by qualifying for the 2024 Olympic Trials. The University of Wisconsin-Madison is home to several athletes who are hoping to qualify for and compete at the event, and Jason Swarens is one Badger athlete who has his eye on the prize. 

Swarens, a member of the UW-Madison Track and Field Team, comes from a family that has a great history with UW Athletics. His grandfather played football for UW-Madison, his grandmother was a UW-Madison cheerleader and his aunt was a member of the UW-Madison Track and Field Team.

Following in his family’s footsteps, Swarens joined the track and field team at his middle school in sixth grade, where he was a thrower. He has been throwing ever since.

Swarens placed 13th in shot put at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in June 2023, and he placed seventh in the weight throw and ninth in the shot put at the 2023 Big Ten Championships in February. 

To qualify for the Olympic Trials, Swarens must throw the qualifying mark at a meet before the trials begin in June 2024. 

“I feel very confident about the trials. I don't have to do anything new that I haven’t done, maybe a slight personal record,” Swarens said. 

Trying to accomplish a large goal like qualifying for the Olympic Trials while also being a student can become overwhelming. In order to manage his mental health as an Olympic hopeful, Swarens makes sure to not put too much pressure on himself. 

“My freshman year, I felt like I needed to have the best throw every meet. You have to realize that will not happen every time, so you just have to use those moments where you don’t have your best day as a learning experience,” Swarens said. 

If he makes it to the trials this summer, Swarens will be competing against collegiate-level athletes as well as professionals.

“I know there’s a lot of older guys right now, professionals that are throwing. I know they’re going to be working hard to get to the Olympics too,” Swarens said. 

That being said, Swarens is mainly focusing on qualifying for and doing his best at this summer’s Olympic Trials.  

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“My goal is just to make finals,” Swarens said. 

In order to work toward his goal of competing at the Olympics one day, Swarens is taking things step by step in order to make his dreams a reality.

When it comes to qualifying for the Olympic Games, Swarens said he feels that Los Angeles 2028 will be his year. 

“My ultimate goal would be to compete at the 2028 Olympics. I think that competing in Los Angeles in front of your home crowd would be so cool,” Swarens said. 

Reflecting upon past seasons as an athlete at UW-Madison, Swarens explains that the Wisconsin Track and Field Team receives support from a variety of Wisconsin fans when they travel for meets. 

“Everywhere we go, there’s usually someone that’s a Badger fan,” Swarens said. 

Hopefully the Badger community will have the opportunity to rally together and cheer Swarens on at the Olympic Trials this summer at the University of Oregon.

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