Loyola men’s lacrosse graduate midfielder Peter Swindell recently spoke to PressBox about how he grew up with the game, why he returned for a graduate year and more. The New Canaan, Conn., native posted 15 points (7 goals, 8 assists) in 2019 and 16 points (9 goals, 7 assists) during the shortened 2020 season.
PressBox: How did you become interested in lacrosse?
Peter Swindell: I would say it started very young. My uncles played. My dad, [Jim], played in college. My grandfather played in college. Ever since I was running around as a little kid, I had a stick in my hand and I fell in love with it at a really early age. I haven’t fallen out of love with it yet.
PB: Who among that group was the biggest influence on your game growing up?
PS: I would say my dad. I think when he would come home from work in the afternoons, we’d always go in the backyard and throw the lacrosse ball with me, my brother, my sister, and even my mom would join in. It was a whole family thing that we always used to do together.
PB: What was it like being able to draw from a lacrosse family as you grew up?
PS: It was definitely helpful. I think there was always a bunch of support having a lot of cousins in Baltimore, which is a big lacrosse hotbed. People are always excited about it. In the summer, that’s what me and my family would talk about. My older cousins had played in college, so for the past 10 to 15 years, we’ve had some relatives playing in college, which has been pretty awesome, so it’s stayed with us for a while.
PB: Why did you choose to come to Loyola?
PS: My dad is from Baltimore, and his brothers and his parents still live here, so we used to come down here every Easter, a bunch of different holidays and come down here a lot. So I was really used to the city. Just having the experience of having family 10 to 15 minutes down the road was definitely an awesome opportunity and I couldn’t pass it up. The coaches were amazing. The campus felt like home right as I stepped on it, so it was the perfect fit.
PB: What’s your favorite memory so far at Loyola?
PS: I would say my favorite memory is meeting all of the people that I’ve gotten to experience here. I think having a different class come in every year as freshmen and having different groups graduate, you have the opportunity to meet up to 70 [people] that you can call close friends for the rest of your life. I think that’s something I can definitely agree with, and especially my grade in general, we’ve gotten really close with each other. They’re definitely people that we’re going to be friends with for the rest of our lives.
PB: Why did you decide to return to Loyola for a fifth year after the 2020 season was cut short?
PS: It was hard for everyone last year with everything that went on. There were a lot of different thought processes that had to go into what decision I was going to make, but in the end I thought, one, coming back to play lacrosse was an unbelievable experience. Two, the job market was actually very tough in the past spring, and I figured, “What’s the best use of my time for the next six months?” Coming back to get my MBA was something that really stood out to me, and it’s been unbelievable so far. I’ve learned so much and met a lot of cool people. All puzzle pieces kind of aligned.
PB: What’s your favorite thing about Loyola and Baltimore?
PS: Obviously Loyola’s campus is 15 minutes away from downtown, but when you get to Loyola’s campus it kind of feels like you’re in the suburbs area, so it’s kind of a mix of both small-campus feel versus big-city feel, which I think is awesome that you can balance the two and use which one you want to use more. That’s something that I’ve loved all four of my years here.
PB: Who’s your best friend on the team and what’s a story that underscores your friendship?
PS: Those questions are always hard because you have so many best friends. I would say maybe Kevin Lindley. He’s actually the grade below me. We grew up in town right next each other [in Connecticut]. We just have this special connection between each other where we can tell each other anything. We always laugh at each other’s jokes. We didn’t really know each other coming into college, but we soon became best friends even though we went to rival high schools as we grew up.
PB: Who got the better of those high school games?
PS: Kevin usually got the better of those games. Darien [High School] has a good program. He always reminds me about that, but we beat them a couple times. But overall, I think Darien usually got the best of us.
PB: Who was a player you looked up to early in your career at Loyola?
PS: There’s a bunch of people. I think coming in as a freshman, you’re so star-struck and there’s always a lot of stuff that’s nerve-racking to you, but somebody I really looked up to was Pat Spencer. That’s an easy answer for everyone to say, obviously, because of his name brand and what he did during his time here. But what I took away from Pat wasn’t really his skill set. It was really the mindset he brought to the game — the relaxed energy that he played with — and being able to see the field like a coach, and that’s something that I’ve tried to take away from him. I’ve tried to take on that role of, “How can I coach this team while I’m on the field?”
PB: What advice would you give to younger players?
PS: Have fun with it, make a lot of friends with it and have it be fun. Don’t make it be work, and I think that’s why I think lacrosse is really special because although it’s a competitive sport, there’s so many people that just play it across the world for fun and for joy. That’s something that’s always stuck with me growing up. Obviously I love playing competitively, but at the same time I love throwing the ball in the backyard equally as much.
PB: What are your goals for after lacrosse?
PS: I’m currently in the search for a [finance] job right now. Hopefully I can land a job for when I graduate and get my masters. I think I want to get a job where I’m able to learn from people that have been there for a while, similar to lacrosse – coming in as a freshman, learning from really smart players is the same thing I want when I get a job. I want to go to a job that offers me the best experience and gives me the best opportunity to learn.
PB: What did you do last spring as far as lacrosse after the season was canceled?
PS: It was hard to get in gyms and all that stuff, but luckily being from Connecticut where there’s a bunch of Loyola players who live around the area, we were able to go to fields and shoot outside. We’d often get kicked off the field because the fields were shut down, but having Loyola players near you definitely motivated you to get out there and work.
Photo Credit: Larry French/Loyola Athletic Communications