He was done.
But for some people, competition is in their blood. And he is one of them.
On his left hand, he now sports a new ring. This one for his sixth world championship win in the 35 and older, hard traditional division of the National Blackbelt League.
This year’s competition was in Buffalo, N.Y., from Dec. 26-31.
If timing is everything, then the deck was stacked against Swinney.
“My competition was later in the week than it ever was,” said Swinney, who just recently opened the Beeville Karate Academy. “Finals were later that night, so I didn’t have that break between it and the preliminaries.
“Scheduling wasn’t on my side. I was so tired I didn’t know if I was even going to compete.”
Swinney also works as a medic during the tournament, so downtime and rest time don’t exist.
With sparring going on throughout the day, Swinney is kept busy with hurt ankles and bloody noses.
But that Saturday morning, Swinney did his forms in front of the judges.
Ultimately, he would win first place and would go on to compete for the championship title in the finals against Edgar Cordova of Guatemala.
Competing against Cordova has become almost tradition for Swinney.
Four of six championships have been had only by beating Cordova.
“We are the best of friends,” Swinney added.
That evening, the two squared off.
Each would do their routines.
Each would be judged.
“That was tough,” Swinney said. “I was dead on my feet.
“I stepped out and did my form. I wasn’t sure I did it well enough.”
In the end, Swinney took the title but just barely. In fact, one one-hundredth of a point separated the two.
Swinney had previously said that he wasn’t going to go for another world championship.
But with successful wins in New Orleans, Victoria and San Antonio, everything was pointing to him competing just one more time.
“There was just something saying, ‘Keep going,’” Swinney said.
Jason Collins is the editor at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 121, or at editor@mySouTex.com.