Nicolet National Bank Senior Spotlight: Mitchell Swagel, Kewaunee High School
Name: Mitchell Swagel
School: Kewaunee High School
Sports: Track and field, cross country
Parents: Tom and Mary Swagel
How did you learn to pole vault?
My freshman year they were looking for some younger kids to start learning because we only had two returning vaulters on the team and one was a senior who was going to be gone the next year. Before COVID-19 took away my freshmen season I started to go to private lessons in Green Bay with some coaches and carried that into the off-season. That’s where I started to get the hang of the sport.
How old were you when you started? Were you intimidated at all to try it out?
I was a freshman but didn’t get the hang of it or compete until my sophomore season. It took a while until I was comfortable enough vaulting where I was able to control my body enough to get inverted. Knowing I had to be fully upside down when I was over 10 feet in the air was a very intimidating thing to overcome considering I had the fear of something going wrong and falling in such an awkward position.
What’s the most important thing to keep in mind when you’re vaulting, what’s the “keep your eye on the ball” of pole vaulting?
There are so many things that go into vaulting. Every part of your body has something it should be doing at all times during the vault that you have to be thinking about. For me though, my biggest thing that would make or break my jumps was “having a tall plant”, which mean when the end of my pole hits the ground my arms needed to be as high in the air as they could possibly be to help fling me up the pole and not just run into it and get sucked under.
Congratulations on selecting St. Norbert College, where you plan on studying biology. How do you think your years as a high school and middle school athlete will help you with your college plan?
Sports taught me how to find motivation in times when I found myself getting complacent. I feel like this trait will help me get through my years of schooling, always being able to put my best effort out there.
What would you like to do career wise?
I would like to become a physical therapist and specialize in sports medicine. I would love to work at an already established company such as Bellin or Prevea in their sports medicine department, but I also have thought about opening my own sports medicine physical therapy private practice.
What do you listen to while you run?
I was never big into listening to music while running. I would zone out as much as I could or try to distract myself with everything around me.
As a distance runner, is there an exotic or faraway locale that you hope to one day run in?
I haven’t really put much thought into it.
Tell us something you’re good at that not many people know about.
I am really good at playing this game called spike ball. I’ve got a pretty nasty serve.