Bethlehem Press

Wednesday, August 23, 2017
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Swint was all-around great person, athlete

Thursday, August 3, 2017 by Katie McDonald kmcdonald@tnonline.com in Sports

In tennis, she glides. In basketball, she runs. In track, she sprints.

Kaitlyn Swint, Freedom’s Female Athlete of the Year, does it all with graceful intensity.

“I always told Kaitlyn she was the nicest, most mature young lady other than my daughter,” said Freedom tennis coach Mark Sigmon.

“She is a great person, and she is mature beyond her age. I think everyone on the team just loves Kaitlyn, from [number one singles player] Natalie [Sinai] to the youngest ninth grader. Her first two years, she must have put in 150 extra hours. She works hard, and I appreciated that.”

Swint was the Patriots’ number two singles player, and ended the regular season with a record of 12-5.

As a team, the Patriots’ most satisfying victory this past year was their 4-3 win over Parkland. Swint won her match 6-1, 6-1, and then teamed up with Sinai to win at one doubles 6-1, 6-3.

“We love doubles,” said Swint at the time. “I was mostly up at the net, and Natalie was at the back, and they were both playing in the back. Beating Parkland, wow, it felt like an accomplishment. It felt really good.”

Swint and Sinai also reached the District 11 doubles tennis final this year and last. Both times, they finished as silver medalists.

After missing out on gold at this year’s district doubles final, Sinai cried, more for Swint than for herself, while Swint sat, staring straight ahead.

“The second time it happened,” Swint paused, then sighed, “I was not satisfied with how that ended up. I remember lots of balls I was hesitant to take. And I remember a lot of deuce points.”

What coach Sigmon remembers about the district final are Swint’s strong net play and Sinai’s perfect strokes, and, yes, the deuce points.

“I think they went to deuce or ad in every game but one. They were in the match, totally. The other team wasn’t going to hit at the net. I should have done more strategy. We just didn’t adjust as much as we could have,” said Sigmon.

“Clearly, Kaitlyn’s strengths are her tremendous endurance, her quickness, her side-to-side, her net play. She’s always been outstanding. Her calmness and demeanor will definitely be missed.”

Swint will miss Freedom tennis too, coach and players alike.

“His words just always worked for me, and I trusted him. He really tried to strengthen my weaknesses,” Swint said. “I love Natalie. I heard she was coming [to Freedom] and that she was a great player, and I was waiting to meet her. She, Becky [Placko], and I really enjoyed playing together, and it made every game worthwhile.”

Sigmon hopes that Swint will continue to play tennis, even though she committed to playing basketball at East Stroudsburg University.

“I was a little disappointed she didn’t go for tennis, but she’s always played basketball and never played tennis [until high school]. She got a lot of inquiries, though,” said Sigmon.

Playing AAU basketball seemed to be a determining factor, whether Swint would play tennis or basketball in college.

“At first, I always thought I would play tennis in college by schools looking at me until I started playing AAU basketball,” said Swint. “First, Millersville was looking at me, and then East Stroudsburg really came in. Next, I had a visit to ESU, and that’s when I loved it. The team was all together, I had fun, they sounded like a strong team, and they loved to win.”

At Freedom, Swint was a starting forward this year as the Patriots made districts for the first time in years.

“My junior year with Coach [Dean] Reiman was his first year. We were getting used to him, and we were just getting there. He’s very encouraging, and he tells us to trust the process,” she said. “With basketball, I just love the game itself, and at Freedom, how it was a team. Nobody wanted anyone to fail. We were all one.”

Swint experienced a similar camaraderie with the 4x4 relay team.

“Tamia Wright, Morgan Weaver, Ally Young, [and I], we were consistent,” said Swint. “Every time before we would run, we’d huddle up, promise not to fall, not drop the baton. Coach Reightler would tell us to just do what we need to.”

Swint also competed in the 100, the 400, and the long jump.

“I think just being physically active all year round helped, and then I would focus on my technique,” Swint said.

Currently, Swint is playing summer league basketball with her East Stroudsburg teammates.

“I’m looking forward to a new chapter,” she said.