Around Town: Union's Dominic Swanson sets lifting records at worlds

Dominic Swanson encountered some obstacles at his first international powerlifting competition but battled through to set five world records. 

Swanson, a sophomore at Huntley, set the records in the 13- to 15-year-old 220-pound division Oct. 26 to 31 at the World Powerlifting Congress World Championships in Prague. He qualified at a national meet in Dearborn, Mich., in May and was invited to go to worlds as the youngest member of Team USA. 

He set records in bench press in both the individual event (275 pounds) and as part of the full powerlifting meet (265), squat (380), dead lift (418) and total lifts (1,063). 

Swanson said the international judges had different standards, particularly on how low competitors had to stoop for the squat. That had a big impact, Swanson said. 

“On squat it can be huge,” Swanson said of the different standard. “There you had to bury your squat.”

Officials also did not allow a lot of time between lifts. Swanson is used to competitions that allow between 10 and 12 minutes between lifts. At worlds, he had between four and five minutes. 

The challenge of the different judging standards was as much mental as physical. Swanson not only had to focus on his lifts but also had to compete under the new guidelines. 

“You learn a lot from it. It’s not just about weights,” Swanson said. “You have to have perfect technique and form. You have to be able to adjust to your judges.”

Swanson said he got the biggest charge and confidence boost after setting the dead lift record. 

“I never pulled that weight before,” Swanson said. “When I did it, it’s what pumped me up the most.”

Worlds gave Swanson a great deal of satisfaction and also the desire to continue training and competing.

“I set all the records I wanted to set,” Swanson said. “It makes me want to go and do more big meets.”

Swanson is trained by his father Gary at their home gym in Union. Gary Swanson was proud that Dominic was able to set the records but said they could have been even higher. 

“I had to back him off once we saw how the judging was,” Gary Swanson said. “We were actually going to go for a lot higher totals.” 

Dominic Swanson said powerlifting has not only helped him get stronger but has made him a better competitor in other sports. 

“It makes you more confident in yourself and in other sports,” Dominic Swanson said. “It helps me mentally with sports, especially with football.

• Rob Smith is a sports writer for the Northwest Herald. Write to him at

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