I knew that chances were great that I had left out Calympians in my Cal Winter Olympics history post last Thursday. Thanks to the helpful reader slims, we have ID’ed one 2018 PyeongChang Calympian in Liz Swaney who is a first-time Olympian who will represent Hungary in the Lady’s ski halfpipe on Monday (and Tuesday if she makes it past qualification).
Let’s learn more about Liz.
Elizabeth (Liz) Marian Swaney
Date of birth: July 30th, 1984 (age 33)
Cal Degrees: B.A., Political Economy of Industrial Societies, German, Political Science (triple major!), Hist. of the Built Environment (minor), Class of 2007
Cal Athletics affiliations: Cal Men’s Crew, coxswain 2003–2005
Born in the U.S., Liz Swaney went to Bentley School in Oakland before matriculating at Cal. While a student at Cal (where her Cal Bears online bio lists “Berkeley” as her hometown), Swaney joined California Crew and coxswain for the men’s team for two years. She then took time off coxswaining to finish a triple major (with a minor) all within just 4 years at Cal.
Swaney is representing Hungary in the 2018 Olympics thanks to her mother’s ancestry. She will become Hungary’s first representative in the ladies’ ski halfpipe. Her Olympic ambition started a long time ago when she trained in skeleton and competed in the U.S. skeleton national championships.
After graduating from Cal, Swaney went to Harvard for graduate school (she got a Master in Design in 2009), where she also worked as an assistant on the Crimson’s Track and Field team. Harvard actually has a brief writeup on Swaney, who credited Harvard for setting her off on the path to become an Olympian. In addition to competing in skeleton at an elite level, Swaney actually represented Venezuela in Freestyle skiing between 2013 and 2015 before using her mother’s heritage to represent Hungary.
Her Ski Halfpipe record is more peaked in the top 20’s in the world, Swaney unfortunately is not a strong medal contender.
From her Instagram, Swaney certainly spent a lot of time in Berkeley, particularly during the football season.
While she obviously spend a lot of time in Utah over the year to train to become a Winter Olympian, Swaney spend a decent amount of time back in the Bay Area where she’s a proud Cal alum.
She earns bonus points in my book for supporting Cal Rugby when they played BYU for the national championship in Utah.
While she tried to crowdfund her way to South Korea (it must have been sort of successful since she’s there), Swaney made this video below, showing some of her ski halfpipe moves.
It’s been a long and winding road to the Olympics Games for Liz Swaney. We are certainly proud to add another to the small but growing list of Winter Calympian.
I am not sure why there was not a note on Swaney’s 2018 PyeongChang endeavor on Cal Bears dot com, but I am certainly glad that we found out about her inclusion before her events.
Ladies’ Ski Halfpipe Schedule
Qualification Run 1 - Monday, February 19th, 10 AM (local South Korea time)
Qualification Run 2 - Monday, February 19th, 10:43 AM
Final Run 1 - Tuesday, February 20th, 10:30 AM
Final Run 2 - Tuesday, February 20th, 10:54 AM
Final Run 3 - Tuesday, February 20th, 11:18 AM
BEST OF LUCK TO LIZ IN PYEONGCHANG AND GO BEARS!