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Inspired by his brother, Calvert Hall guard Alex Swartz, who is making the most of a stellar senior year – Baltimore Sun

Carefully crafting a special senior season on the lacrosse field, Calvert Hall guard Alex Swartz takes his position with purpose.

For Swartz, it’s not a typical senior year of high school that so many seniors get to savor. That changed in August when his older brother, Ryan, enjoying a day with friends on a boat, suffered a devastating spinal cord injury following a diving accident at Gunpowder Falls State Park.

The accident left the 22-year-old quadriplegic.

Priorities have changed for the young Swartz. While school and lacrosse remain at the forefront, unwavering love and support for his brother and best friend joins in.

“I’m just there for him as much as I can, trying to get him out as much as possible and giving him moral support – chirping and joking like brothers do,” said Alex, who is committed to the Anderson University in the South. Caroline.

As an undersized center on the Calvert Hall football team, Ryan Swartz always handled the bigger opponents in front of him and set an example for his younger brother.

After the accident, this inspiration grew.

After undergoing several surgeries, Ryan attended physical therapy three days a week at Kennedy Krieger. Through hard work, prayers from family and friends, and a never-give-up mentality, he regained feeling in his shoulders, arms, hands, and some fingers.

“The kid works really hard,” said his father Paul, an assistant baseball coach at Calvert Hall. “The doctor says he has less than a 10% chance of walking again. But here we say that it’s just a number. It doesn’t mean anything because they don’t know what’s in his heart and how hard he’s going to work.

“I tell him every day: ‘It might not be today, it might not be tomorrow, but we don’t know what it’s going to be like in a few years. So you keep working and you use everything you have to work with and you give it everything you have.’

Calvert Hall senior lacrosse goalie Alex Swartz, left, is having a sensational season while dealing with a family tragedy.  Last August, Alex's older brother Ryan, 22, was paralyzed in a water accident.  The two brothers are pictured with their parents Paul and Roxanne and the family dog ​​Abby.  (Kenneth K. Lam/Staff)
Calvert Hall senior lacrosse goalie Alex Swartz, pictured left to right with his mother Roxanne, brother Ryan and father Paul with family dog ​​Abby, is having a sensational season while dealing with tragedy family. Ryan, 22, was paralyzed in a water accident in August. (Kenneth K. Lam/Staff)

Two of Alex’s most important moments of the day occur before he leaves for school and after he returns from practice or a game: time spent with Ryan.

“I see all the hard work he’s done and it’s great to see all he’s accomplished.” He’s finding more movement every day and that really inspires me,” Alex said.

Ryan said: “We’ve always had a close bond. We talk about how our days are going and just having that constant conversation and support is really helpful. If I’m having a good day or a bad day and the same for him, we always talk about it and it helps us get through it.

Alex is making sure the days on the lacrosse field are good for him and the No. 2 Cardinals, who finished the regular season with a 10-6 record and are Maryland’s fourth playoff seed Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference. In his second season as a starter, he was consistent and often sensational, making 162 saves and owning a 7.4 goals-against average in the team’s 7-3 conference record. On Friday at 4 p.m., the Cardinals will host fifth-seeded Gilman in the quarterfinals.

“He’s a pretty resilient kid — very emotionally balanced,” Calvert Hall coach Bryan Kelly said. “So for him to be able to perform so well with everything that’s going on with him and his family, it’s extremely special. It’s awesome for us and we’re excited for him.

This season, his love for lacrosse has taken on added importance.

“Lacrosse has always been a fun activity for me and it helps take my mind off things,” he said. “And after a win, especially in the MIAA, it’s a great feeling and my mood is always much better.”

Calvert Hall Cardinals goalie Alex Swartz stands during MIAA-A boys lacrosse at Tullai Field.  (Karl Merton Ferron/Staff)
“This whole season we played for my brother — we went out there to win for him,” Calvert Hall guard Alex Swartz said. (Karl Merton Ferron/Staff)

So far the situation has not been better than April 12. That’s when the Cardinals handed two-time defending league champion McDonogh his first conference loss with an 8-7 victory in a rematch of the championship game of the year last. Swartz was electric with 15 saves, including several key saves in the critical minutes of the fourth quarter when the game was tied.

The reward Swartz cherishes most from playing in the cage comes when his teammates run up to him and show their appreciation for his efforts at the end of the match.

Tonight?

“I felt like I was on top of the world. Everyone was coming towards me, the student section was coming too. It was a really cool moment,” Alex said. “This game was personal, especially for the upperclassmen who participated in last year’s game.”

Senior defender Gavin Batelka is often the first to reach him.

“You have your captains and you have other very, very good players who are not captains but who carry just as much weight. It’s Alex,” he said. “People admire him so much and we feed off him. So it’s been huge in maintaining our energy and keeping us fit.

After the victory, Kelly first thought of his goaltender.

“You like to see him win that day. It was a big moment for him and for us and I was really happy for him,” he said.

The Swartz family is grateful for the lasting support they have received. Paul highlighted, among others, the Calvert Hall community, surgeons and dedicated staff at Krieger.