TERRE HAUTE —
Indiana State hurdler Greggmar Swift’s 2012 Olympics came to an end during Tuesday’s 110 hurdles heat races.
But the ISU hurdler was oh so close to keeping himself alive.
Swift, representing his home country of Barbados, competed in the fourth of six 110 hurdles heats in London. He finished fifth in his race with a time of 13.62 seconds.
Swift’s time was very close to the threshold for advancement, but he missed the cut by .05 seconds.
“Just want to thank everyone for supporting me today and for the entire season.” Swift said after the race via an ISU news release. “I gave my best and it wasn't good enough today. Hopefully you all will continue to support me because there is still a lot to come.”
The top three finishers in each heat advanced to the semifinals. Hurdlers with the next six best times also advanced.
Swift tied for the second-highest time among the non-advancing hurdlers along with Hungary’s Daniel Kiss. The only hurdler with a better time that didn’t advance was Jamaica’s Andrew Riley at 13.59.
Swift — the first ISU track athlete to qualify for the Olympics — ran in the first lane and got off to a quick start. He was stride-for-stride with American Jeff Porter, who was in the second lane, and who ultimately finished third.
Swift knocked down the third hurdle. He also took down the sixth and ninth hurdles.
Swift’s momentum slowed in the last half of the race and he was overtaken by world record holder Dayron Robles of Cuba, who won the heat with a time of 13.33. South Africa’s Lehann Fourie also had a clean race and finished second at 13.49. Porter’s third-place time was 13.53.
Swift leaned in at the line and nearly caught France’s Dimitri Bascou for fourth. As it turned out, Bascou was the last hurdler to advance to the semifinals with a time of 13.57.
“So this is how it feels to not make the semis,” Swift said. “It is just a world of pain. Knowing that you are among the world’s best and proving are two different things. I just have to prove it.”
Swift’s heat was clean, with few hurdlers crashing out of the race. It was in contrast to other heats, including the final one, which claimed China’s Xiang Liu — a medal contender — along with Swift’s countryman Shane Brathwate.
ISU men’s track coach John McNichols accompanied Swift to London. McNichols was not in the stadium for the race, but watched it on replay.
“He got out great and raced in the top three for the first half of the race,” McNichols said. “He then lost a position or two but did not have any problems. He was just not as sharp as he has been in the past. This was one of the toughest heats of the competition. This was a good first experience for him on such a huge international stage.”
Swift’s time would have been enough to advance out of the third heat. Russia’s Konstantin Shabanov finished third in that heat with a time of 13.63.
American Merritt Aries blazed the rest of the competition and ran the fastest overall time at 13.07 seconds. Swift’s other countryman in the event, Ryan Brathwate, had the second-best overall time at 13.23.
Swift, a junior at ISU, is the reigning Missouri Valley Conference 110 hurdles champion and he finished 10th in the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in June. Swift has the third-fastest 110 hurdles time in ISU history at 13.49.