The Bucknellian

Through the Gates: Suné Swart

Graphic by Jared Shapiro

Graphic by Jared Shapiro

Bri Pomonis, Senior Writer

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It hasn’t been long since Suné Swart ’17 made headlines for Bison women’s basketball. The 6’3” forward was a consistent presence on the court for the Orange and Blue throughout her collegiate career. But after only three years of high school play and four years of college basketball, Swart knew her peak season was still on the horizon.

Swart credits former Bison Assistant Coach Martina Wood for sparking the idea that she could play professionally during her junior season for the Bison. Swart said that she had never considered playing past college until then.

“While I was warming up for practice, Coach Wood came up to me and asked me how I was doing. At the time I was a little frustrated with myself and the way I’d been playing. I expressed my frustrations to her and she told me, ‘Su, you know you could play professionally if you wanted to right? Your size, body-type, and athleticism is what most European clubs are looking for,’” Swart said.

With her collegiate career nearing its end, Swart says the idea “stuck” with her for the rest of the season. It was the hope for more days on the court of that led Swart across the Atlantic.

Swart’s initial plan was to play with a Romanian club, but after her visa application was denied, her agent began scouting out other teams looking to improve their roster after rough starts to their season. Swart eventually signed with Campus Promete Logrono after their 0-4 start, and didn’t arrive until they had fallen 1-7 in the first eight games.

Promete consists of Spain’s top women’s basketball leagues, a first and second team that compete in the Liga Femenina I and Liga Femenina II, respectively. Swart is listed as a starting post for the second team, but steps in as a back-up for the first team when needed. Swart, who was born in South Africa, is the only South African rostered on a Spaniard-dominated team, but is accompanied by several fellow NCAA Division I basketball alumni on the first team.

While in season, Swart follows an intense practice schedule of two to five hours a day, four to five days a week in preparation for a weekly game. The team travels all across Spain for match-ups against their 14 regular competitors. With time outside of practice no longer dedicated to school, Swart fills her newfound free time with “sleeping, eating, and watching Netflix, of course.”

“In college, the practices and lifts are more challenging and players also have to balance all their school work on top of their demanding athletic schedules. With that being said, part of this being professional means that you can make it as challenging as you want and you can always put in more work by yourself,” Swart said.

Without the added responsibility of school, Swart is taking time to “focus just on basketball” and fully embrace her new home.

“My favorite part so far has been the culture here in Spain. The culture here is very relaxed. Everything is a little delayed here and I’ve enjoyed learning about it and adapting to it,” Swart said. “People generally wake up later in the morning, have breakfast, go to work, then businesses close from 1-4 p.m. for lunch and ‘siesta.’ Then it’s back to work until 8 or 9 p.m. and then dinner is usually at 10 p.m. I love it! I think it is so interesting and the food here is amazing, so I have no problem with eating a big meal in the middle of the day and eating again later at night.”

Looking forward, Swart aspires to have basketball in her life long after her days on the court.

“My real dream is to be able to impact people’s lives the way that coaches throughout my life impacted mine. I would love to be able to coach in the NCAA environment, so my idea is to one day start by being a graduate assistant somewhere. It is an idea that excites me, because I know it will challenge me. The possibilities are endless and who knows where I’ll end up,” Swart said.

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Through the Gates: Suné Swart