By the time she was in the fifth grade, she was holding a lacrosse stick.
Swift was seeking a sport where she could constantly be on the run, and lacrosse ended up being the answer.
Her speed on the field allowed her to virtually do it all — score, win draws and play defense.
Swift ended up being the centerpiece that helped guide Kell’s girls lacrosse team to the best season in its history. The Lady Longhorns finished with a 15-5 mark and started the season on a nine-game winning streak. They also hosted their first playoff game and made the opportunity worthwhile by winning it 17-12 over South Forsyth.
Although Kell lost to McIntosh in the state quarterfinals, it made a huge jump in the right direction after finishing with a losing record in 2011. Although the Lady Longhorns were aided by experienced freshmen this season, Swift played a critical role to their success.
“It was really exciting,” Swift said. “We really never had that kind of year before. This year was a lot different, because we had the ability to win and deserved to. It was a different mindset than we usually had.”
Not only did Kell gain respect among the other quality teams of Class A-AAAA, Swift ended up being the reason the Lady Longhorns finished as the highest-scoring team in the state. She totaled 101 goals in 20 games.
Scoring wasn’t Swift’s only contribution to the team. The 2012 Marietta Daily Journal/Cobb County Girls Lacrosse Player of the Year often set up Kell’s goals with 34 assists. She also had 173 groundballs and 45 interceptions and was capable of winning draws with 98 on the year.
“She’s the heart and soul of our team,” first-year coach Todd Utt said. “She’s dedicated to the program and does a lot during the summer. She plays all-year-round, which really helps contribute to us after she comes back. Her work ethic is unmatched. She was one of our team captains and did a great job.”
With a new coach at the helm, offseason conditioning began sooner than normal for Kell, and Swift didn’t know what to expect for the 2012 season. The Lady Longhorns hadn’t been in the playoffs in three seasons, and they were starting freshmen who were unproven.
Swift had a different perspective on the season after the season opener, when she scored eight goals en route to a 15-14 victory over Holy Innocents’ on Feb. 22.
Once the Lady Longhorns were 9-0 on the season, and with spring break just around the corner, the team started believing that it could be a force in the postseason.
“I think we didn’t really realize our potential until we started playing and winning,” Swift said. “We had that (nine-) game winning streak and were more enthusiastic about the playoffs than usual.”
She went on to score six times in a one-goal loss to Harrison in a non-area game, and she had six goals in an area game over Pope, which the Lady Longhorns won 21-11. Swift said her ability to score multiple goals in games had much to do with the camaraderie she has with longtime teammates Katie Kunberger and Hannah Nemeck.
Swift also added an eight-goal effort in Kell’s win over South Forsyth in the first round of the Class A-AAAA state tournament — the first playoff win in team history.
Although Swift tacked on six more goals in the second round against McIntosh, the Lady Longhorns came up on the short end against the eventual state runner-up.
“I think teams are going to respect our program a lot more because they realize that we are up there now,” Swift said. “It’s not like a joke at all.”