SYLA SWORDS
Lo-Ellen Park Intermediate School
(May 2020)

Try as she might to add a little more variety to her life, there is an inevitability to basketball that seems sure to follow Syla Swords around.

To some extent, at least, that is her world.

"I like trying different sports and representing my school, but most of my teammates on my (club) basketball team go to my school too, so we all kind of do the same stuff together.

Make no mistake - Syla Swords is a teenage athlete with multiple talents.

Named to the provincial basketball team last year (along with teammate and friend Bree Bourget), Swords also donned the Lo-Ellen Intermediate School colours with pride in other venues, Swords finished second at the L.U. Elementary XC Challenge in September, and was also a key member of the Knights girls volleyball team that captured the Rainbow Board banner in December.

"I just try and do whatever I am happiest doing," said the 14 year old grade eight student, who has been named as one of two high-school freshmen who will suit up with the Lo-Ellen Prep Knights basketball team in the fall (Bourget is the other).

"I will always make time in my schedule to do sports, because it makes me happy, but I always do schoolwork too, because that's important. I love to compete, I love pushing myself and seeing how good I can be, how much better I can get."

There are likely several sports in which Swords could excel. She has dabbled in soccer and swimming in her youth. But as she asserted, "basketball was always my favourite." Given that her father (Shawn) is a former member of the Canadian Olympic team and current head coach of men's basketball at Laurentian University, and that her mother (Shelley Dewar Swords) played for the Lady Vees, the statement can hardly be considered as shocking.

"I think I'm a little similar to my dad," said Syla, who enters high-school at 5'10", hoping to exceed the six foot mark by the time she graduates. "He's very crafty and smart on the court, so I kind of feel like I am following in his footsteps."

"I definitely get my competitiveness from my dad, because he likes to compete," Swords continued. "My mom is very calm and understanding, and I feel that when I play basketball, I am always calm and posted about how I play."

Still, she does credit the cross-connections in some of her athletic endeavours as providing benefits that play off one another. "Running definitely helps me with my endurance in basketball, just being able to push through with the last seconds of the game, and basketball helps with my endurance in running too," she said.

And where some might be struggling with the altered schedule being forced upon them by the global pandemic, Swords is one to roll with the punches. "There is a lot of family time, which is a lot of fun," she said.

"I'm getting really strong, physically, training really hard, so I think I am going to come out better than I was before, after the quarantine is done."

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