Sport Management major successfully balances being a student, wrestler and CA

By Ashley Davenport

KU student Dustin Swanson best described himself as “brightful.” Popular in high school, college and on the mat, Swanson is all-around goofy and enjoys bringing smiles to people’s faces. Not only does he try to make others happy, but he also continually strives to be the best version of himself as an athlete, student, coworker and friend. This is due to the major influence that his parents had on him while he was growing up.

Prior to attending KU, Swanson grew up in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and attended the Garden Spot School District, where he was involved in all things music-related (marching band, concert band, jazz band, chorus and the theater program). He was also a wrestler and a member of the Health Council Club, which put on annual events like Relay for Life. 

“I was very involved then, and I still am now,” said Swanson. “Here at KU, I manage the workload of being a full-time student as a Sport Management major while also wrestling for my twelfth consecutive year, serving as a Community Assistant (CA) for University Place (UP), an on-campus apartment building, and acting as a member of the Student Advisory Committee (SAC), which focuses on volunteering and collaborating with the athletic director of the university.”

“Wrestling and working as a CA takes up a lot of time. They both are daily commitments. I have wrestling practice every day and matches on the weekends,” said Swanson. 

Swanson explained that being a CA entails more than what many think. “As a CA, I am expected and make an effort to get to know each of my residents, assist them with any issues that they may have, host both fun and educational events for residents to get involved in, attend weekly Residence Life (Res-Life) meetings, frequently update the bulletin boards with information and occasionally create door decorations (decs) for them.” 

Despite the busy schedule, Dustin loves the connections he has already made on the job and on the mat, and he hopes to make more next year. 

When Swanson isn’t helping to turn UP into a better place or representing KU in a match, he can be found playing video games, working out, listening to music, sleeping or even studying to fill the remainder of his day.

Many believe that college-level athletes must eat, sleep and breathe their sport to be successful. However, Swanson explained that his coaches promote being well-rounded–that students should have time for themselves, their academics and their athletics all at the same time. 

Swanson pointed out one of his many success stories that he was able to experience as a wrestler for KU. He stated, “With three seconds left on the clock in a close match against Millersville, I was able to score the final takedown. The crowd and the coaches were going nuts, and secretly in my head, I was going nuts too!” 

Crowd and coaches jump for joy after Dustin Swanson wins the final point against Millersville
Photo Credit: Victoria Cappiello and Cierra Abrachinsky

He went on to state that the craziest part of it all was that he had lost to the competitor previously in the season, so being able to come back and win for not only himself but also his team was like icing on the cake.

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