Student-athlete profile on Ben Swett '14
Ben Swett '14 and the men's tennis team host Tufts University for a NESCAC match at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 5. Ben has a career singles record of 19-14 and has played first, second and third flight singles this season. In 2012, he earned NESCAC Spring All-Academic Team honors. He has a 6-6 doubles record this season with three different partners and has helped lead Hamilton to an overall record of 7-5.
Q. Can you tell us a little bit about where you grew up?
A. I grew up in West Hartford and then Darien, Connecticut, when I was 6. After a year there, my family moved to Virginia for two years but ended up back in Darien, which is where I’ve lived ever since.
Q. How did you get interested in tennis?
A. I remember watching tennis matches on TV when I was younger and playing every now and then, but I didn’t really get into tennis until I was 13. Honestly, it was because I was pretty bad at the other sports like basketball, soccer, hockey and lacrosse. Tennis was less confrontational as well. I also just loved hitting the ball, and since you’re probably going to hit a tennis ball a million times in your life, you have to enjoy that aspect of it.
Q. Did you participate in any other sports competitively before college?
A. I played squash in high school, but other than some hockey and lacrosse, not much. I still like to play squash today.
Q. What factored into your decision to choose Hamilton College?
A. The thought never crossed my mind that I could play college tennis, so I looked at Hamilton just for its academics. I loved Hamilton because it was small, had a great history department and it was in the middle of nowhere. I figured if a professor would come all the way out to Clinton to teach away from a lot of distractions, they had to be pretty passionate about teaching.
Q. What do you know about this Saturday's opponent, Tufts, which your team hosts at 12:30 p.m.?
A. I have never played them but my teammates tell me that we had a very good chance at beating them last year, so it should be a good fight.
Q. Given the less-than-ideal weather for tennis in Central New York, you play a few home matches indoors in Margaret Bundy Scott Field House. What are the differences between indoor and outdoor tennis?
A. Indoor tennis is obviously more controlled. There is no sun to deal with (although the lights in there can be a bit annoying) or wind. That means you can play with less margin-for-error, at least that’s what I do. Outside you want to play a little more conservatively, and you have to focus just that bit more to make sure your feet are where they should be and to keep your eye on the ball. I personally like playing outside because it’s fun to deal with the elements. They’re kind of like another opponent.
Q. Six NESCAC men's tennis programs are nationally ranked in the latest Division III Top 30 poll. What's it like to compete in this conference?
A. It’s pretty tough but those are the matches you can learn the most from. You really learn what shots not to hit because for the most part, other NESCAC players will punish you for it. We always compete well with the other teams, so we can’t be too disappointed if our record isn’t stellar.
Q. The team played five matches in Orlando, Fla., during spring break last month. How does that trip benefit the program?
A. It does. It gives us time to practice outside, which we need. We see teams that we would normally never play, which helps you be better prepared for every other match. It’s a fun time when the team gets to hang out without being stressed about work. Getting some sun after this winter also probably helped.
Q. You were a member of the NESCAC spring all-academic team as a sophomore. What are the keys to balancing academics and athletics?
A. I would say you should stay organized and know all your assignments far in advance. That way you can budget your time, prioritize certain assignments and stay on top of your work. If you leave it all until the end, then your work suffers and so does your playing. And get sleep.
Q. What has been your greatest Hamilton men's tennis moment thus far?
A. My greatest Hamilton tennis memory actually happened this past weekend. We had a home match against St. Lawrence University after another match against Utica College earlier in the day. The St. Lawrence match started at 5:30 p.m. and did not finish until 12:30 a.m. Almost every singles match went to three sets and we had a couple great comebacks. The contest went to the last match and unfortunately it didn’t go our way, but everyone played great and battled. It was really exciting to watch and compete in, and I was so proud of the team.
Q. Do you have a favorite professor or a favorite class from your time here at Hamilton?
A. It’s hard to name one professor. I love Professor Paquette, Professor Ambrose and Professor Sisler. My favorite class was during sophomore year, and it was called History of Conservatism in America taught by Professor Paquette.
Q. What are your plans after graduation?
A. Well, I'm going to go to dinner with my family. After that, I have a job at a health-care research company as an analyst, and hopefully I’ll be living in New York City with a few friends.