San Diego, CA (April 30, 2008) – The United States Rugby Foundation has announced that St. Mary’s center Kevin Swiryn is the recipient of this year’s USRF High Performance Grant. The award was presented to Swiryn at this year’s USA Rugby National Guard Collegiate Championships entitling the two-time US Collegiate All-American to participate in the three-week High Performance Course at the International Rugby Academy of New Zealand. Swiryn arrived in New Zealand on Friday and will take part in the course through June 6.
Swiryn’s St. Mary’s team made its first trip to the Collegiate ranks Big Four losing to Cal in an entertaining semi final 41-31. When told of his award and the opportunity it presented, Kevin appeared a bit overwhelmed.
“It really hasn’t sunk in yet,” said Swiryn, who graduates this month with in B.A. in Kinesiology. “I know I’ll have some of the top players and coaches in the world developing my game and I look forward to this great opportunity. I want to thank the Rugby Foundation and ITI USA for awarding me the High Performance Grant. I hope to do them, my teammates and coaches proud.”
Swiryn earned a football scholarship to St. Mary’s but the football program was terminated after his freshman year and Kevin turned his full attention to rugby. He started out on the flank but St. Mary’s coach Tim O’Brien, himself a past Eagles center, saw something in Kevin that made him think he’d excel in the centers and he’s done just that.
Swiryn was named to the Collegiate All-Americans in 2006 and 2007 and will captain the Pacific for the second consecutive year at the upcoming Collegiate NASC with the hopes of earning All-American honors again this year.
Along with O’Brien, Swiryn received high praise from Cal head coach Jack Clark, USA 7s coach Al Caravelli, Pacific NASC coach Jonathan Griffin and USA Rugby High Performance Director Matt Sherman. Swiryn was thankful when told of those who spoke so highly of him.
“I’m a bit overwhelmed at the moment,” Swiryn said when told of those who endorsed him. “Those are all great coaches who I have a lot of respect for. I want to thank them all for recommending me.”
The USRF High Performance Grant was made possible through funding provided by ITI USA. A leading wholesaler of wood products in Australia for two decades, ITI USA now operates in the United States offering a range of quality assured wood products. ITI’s flagship product Design Pine is now readily available from USAinventory.
“The Rugby Foundation wishes Kevin the best of luck in New Zealand,” said USRF Executive Director Brian Vizard. “Kevin is a fine young man, a great competitor and we’ll know he’ll do well at the High Performance Course. The Foundation would also like to thank ITI USA for providing the funding for this High Performance Grant.”