Student-athlete spotlight: Grandview runner plans to make a difference

Anna Swanson wants to teach people with hearing loss

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Last year, Anna Swanson listened to AP U.S. history videos while doing planks.

“It doesn't get you pumped up, but it gets the information in your head,” said Swanson, who uses homework as an opportunity to squeeze in workouts to bolster her running routine.

The Grandview High School senior is in her fourth year in cross country and runs the mile and two-mile races in track, a sport she participated in throughout middle school, too. She started with the Bolder Boulder in fifth grade and never looked back, coming from a family that's “real big on running,” she said.

Swanson played volleyball in middle school, but she finds herself more focused on improvement in an individual sport.

“You have a lot more goals,” Swanson said. “Cross country is kind of a team sport, but it's really you against yourself in the end.”

She plans to become a teacher for people with hearing loss, going through Metropolitan State University for a teaching license and then to the University of Northern Colorado. She plans to run at Metro State next year. 

“I started American Sign Language because my sister did it. I've wanted to do special education since fifth grade,” Swanson said. “I've always wanted to make a difference.”

Coach's take:

"The biggest thing that stands out about Anna is her love of running and her tremendous work ethic. She's always asking to do more, and I really appreciate that about her. And I think that's what makes her one of the top runners in the state."

John Walsh, Grandview head cross country coach

Q&A with Swanson

Who's your favorite athlete?

Molly Huddle, a U.S. runner. She's really into doughnuts and is a nail enthusiast. She speaks to being a teenage girl in a way (laughs). She gives it her all — she's so inspiring.

What would be a perfect performance in cross country?

Just keeping it consistent in races. That's a big thing for my racing style.

What's your favorite class?

I'm really into AP environmental science, especially with climate change going on. I hope it educates me on that.

What do you like to do away from sports and school?

I'm really big with animals. Our little rescue dog is so smart, so I like to work with him — I'm trying to see how many tricks he can learn. I like seeing my family — I have the cutest nephews in the world.

Is there something about cross country people seem not to know about?

Probably why we all do it. A lot of people don't like running. It really helps you in the long run mentally because you have to overcome tough workouts. I don't think people see that, really. Sometimes I think, “If I can get through this workout, I can get through anything.”

Key stats

Swanson won first place with a time of 19:14 at the Aurora City Championship Aug. 22 at Aurora Sports Park. She posted a personal record, of 18:25 at the Liberty Bell Invitational Sept. 7.

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