The Start

BOOM! And just like that, the track and field season is on.

Last weekend I did my first two races as a student athlete, representing Santa Barbara City College. If you want to know how it went, stay tuned. I can reveal that the season could not have started much better. But before I write more about that I want to take the opportunity to introduce myself and write a little summary of the journey I have done, from the cold Swedish winter to the beautiful Santa Barbara.

The Athlete

My name is Anton Nilsson and I am a international student and track and field athlete from Sweden. I am born in 1992, just outside the Swedish capital, Stockholm. I am here in Santa Barbara for this spring semester as a part of my “gap year” from my engineering studies in Sweden. I have been a track athlete since I was 6 years old and my main event is the 400m hurdles. I always wear Adidas track spikes when I run and my biggest idol is the American sprinter, Maurice Greene. If you want to know more about me, please visit my newly started Facebook Page where you can follow my progress on the track.

The Journey

When I was 6 years old my father brought me to my very first track and field practice. It was at the local track club, Huddinge AIS, and I really liked it right away. I got some new friends and I found out that I had a little bit of talent for the sport. I won the first track meets i participated in and I got a really good start on my track and field career.

The years went by and the results were shifting a little bit, but I did not quit. I kept my eyes on my goals and in 2009, when I was 17 years old, I got to fulfill one of them. I had the honor to become a part of the Swedish national youth team.

Swedish Student Athlete in Santa Barbara
Me at the starting line at my first international competition.

After that I had a couple of really good years on the track. I won the Swedish Junior Championship in 2011 and I got a spot on the junior national team as well. But then the injuries came and after years of problems and lack of motivation I decided to do something about it, move to Santa Barbara. I did not have the courage to do it right after highschool, even if I wanted to, but now I am here!

The Meet

The day started with a team meeting at Santa Barbara City College with all the other student athletes in the track and field team, to get prepared for the track meet. We took the bus to Westmont University, 15 minutes away, and just when we got to the entrence the bus stopped working… So we had to walk the last bit to get to the track. The sun was shining when we got to the track and I was so excited just to be there.

My first race for the day was 600m and I was a little nervous and maybe a little to excited because I ran the first 400m way too fast… But because I was so far ahead of the other guys, no one could catch me. I won my first race as a student athlete. I did it!

When it was time for the 200m I was really tired after the first race my legs were almost shaking. I did not get a perfect start but some how I had a little bit of energy left. My finish was really strong and I won that race too. I could not have asked for a better season start, two wins and two personal records, super happy!