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Kevin Swiryn was, along with Mike Palefau, kind of an elder statesman for Seattle in the club’s march to a National Championship. He had gobs of international experience and had played professionally overseas. The one thing he hadn’t done was play for a club championship.
After finishing up at St. Mary’s in 2008, Swiryn was drafted almost immediately into the Eagles 7s setup, and not long after, the 15s team. So he didn’t play much club ball before taking a professional contract with Agen in France.
Two years in the Top 14 and a flurry of injuries later, Swiryn returned to the United States and retired. He came out of that retirement for the 2013 Maccabiah Games, helping the American team win Gold. And he kept on playing for Seattle-OPSB.
“I played I think a total of four matches for Seattle, and then I went to France. So now is the only time I’ve ever really played club ball. It’s fun. I’m having a great time,” said Swiryn.
“The team is awesome. It’s a good group. The program, the culture out here is phenomenal. When I was there in ’09 and 2010, I can’t even compare. The culture up here right now is really, really good. It’s fun to show up to training every day and do it with the boys.”
Swiryn’s comeback has been gradual. The Swiryn that played for the Maccabiah Gold wasn’t as fit as the one that won the National Championship Sunday, and that Swiryn isn’t the same physical specimen as the one that captained the 7s Eagles. But rumor has it he wants to see if he has what it takes to get back on the National Team, and this summer’s been a good test to see if his body can handle it.
From the Elite City tournament in June to Nationals last weekend and the World Club 7s in London this weekend, he’ll have played a lot of high-octane 7s. Despite the deceptively large amount of tape on his legs on day two at Nationals, his body’s passing the test.
“Everyone kept asking me about that. I have about two feet worth of rug burns all over my body,” Swiryn said. “It’s just turf burns.”