By Melanie Petrucci, Senior Community Reporter
Shrewsbury – Former Shrewsbury resident Greg Swinand has had a passion for cycling since he was 10 years old. He now competes at an amateur level for Team Ireland.
A 1985 graduate of Shrewsbury High School, Swinand attended the University of Massachusetts – Amherst, graduating in 1990 with a degree in economics. He eventually went on to earn a Ph.D. from Boston College.
Swinand recently competed in the Union Cycliste Internationale’s (UCI) Gran Fondo World Masters Time Trial Championship in Poznan, Poland. He won the time-trial for male riders aged 50 to 54. The time trial was based on a distance of 18.3 km and his time was 24 mins 2.16 seconds with an average speed of 44.93 kph.
“It was very hot and there were about 600 or 700 competitors in the time trial and there were about 3,000 in the road race,” he explained.
Swinand, 52, is the son of Shrewsbury residents Lou and Sue Swinand. His parents are very proud of his accomplishments, both on and off the bike. Greg was introduced to the sport when he and his identical twin brother Paul entered a race with their father when they were 10. They both have been cycling ever since.
“One of the things that stands out to me is both Greg and his brother’s love of cycling,” he said, adding that Greg and Paul were both on the UMass Amherst cycling team. They also spent time studying in France and raced with the French Team. Paul now lives in Evanston, Ill., and coaches a junior cycling team.
“We started racing at what they call ‘Intermediate Class’ at age 13 or 14 and then Juniors when I was 15 to 18, and then Seniors when I competed for UMass as a collegiate racer,” Swinand explained. “I competed throughout New England until I was about 33.”
He then moved to Ireland where he is an economist based in Dublin with the firm London Economics. He is married and lives in Wicklow, Ireland, with his wife Carla and daughters Glenna and Sophie.
His work often takes him to the Middle East. He noted that while on a business trips he often packs his bike, which folds up for traveling. He also packs a turbo trainer – which allows for stationary training – in his luggage so he can train in his hotel room.
On Sept. 15 he competed in and won the All Ireland Men’s 50s Road-Race Championship.
“I’ve done all kinds of racing – there’s road, track, cyclo-cross, mountain – but generally I’m a road racer and within road there is time trial where you go against the clock by yourself – that’s kind of my specialty,” Swinand explained.
When asked how many championships he has under his belt, he said he couldn’t even estimate.
Notably, however, Swinand broke the Irish Elite and Irish Masters Hour Records in Colorado Springs, Colo., in 2016 and then again at the age of 50 in 2017 in Mexico.