The 5-foot-11, 160-pound senior punter for the Malvern Prep football team averaged 40 yards per punt during the 2020 and 2019 football seasons, with no punt returns allowed during that time. A standout student (4.1 grade-point average), Swope recently received an offer to attend and play football for the U.S. Naval Academy. Off the football field, Swope participates in baseball and Irish Dance at Malvern Prep, and is a MECO (Malvernians Encountering Christ in Others) leader. Malvern Prep football head coach Dave Gueriera said, “Ronan is a hard worker determined to succeed.”
Q: What do you feel has been the biggest key(s) to your punting success, and what aspect of punting are you working on most currently?
A: I feel the two biggest attributes that enabled my success these past two years are confidence and consistency. Having the poise to know exactly what needs to be done before every punt to give your team momentum, and then having the confidence to do it, is my goal every time I step onto the field. Preparing for the next level, I am currently working on my strength and ability to check the ball up inside the 10 to give my gunners the chance to down it.
Q: Tell us a little about what sparked your interest in the U.S. Naval Academy. Have you accepted the offer?
A: I have had family members involved with the military and heard nothing but unbelievable experiences and rewards that come from a Naval Academy education. There is no doubt the Naval Academy would be a world-class option to continue playing the sport that I love, however, at this moment (Dec. 19), I remain undecided on where I will be continuing my college career.
Q: Tell us a little about your punting training since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. What did you find to be the biggest challenge to your training during the first months of the pandemic, and how did you handle that?
A: During the pandemic, I believe my punting and training regimen significantly improved. I was able to spend more time focusing on the steps I needed to take to take my skillset to the next level, then put words into actions. Creating new homemade workouts in a basement with my training partner/cousin Bill Alburger and going onto fields to keep my foot loose and punting consistent became my new lifestyle. My No. 1 challenge was seeing our football game schedule pushed back week after week. I live for the game atmosphere and playing under the lights, so this was difficult news for me. I used this as motivation and made sure that every time I stepped onto Malvern’s field, it was with a purpose.
Q: What has been your favorite memory of your Malvern Prep football career?
A: Throughout my career in the blue and white, I have had many unforgettable and proud moments. However, my all-time favorite memory has to be a play from the last game of the season against Archbishop Wood (a 28-14 win Nov. 14). Late in the fourth quarter, the score was tight, and I was punting from Wood’s 45 yard line. I knew this was most likely my last punt on Quigley Field. Confident in my snapper and line, I sent a beauty high into the air. It checked straight up at the 5 yard line, and was downed at the 2. The momentum was swung back in our favor, the student section was chaos, and the atmosphere was electric. We recovered a fumble the next play, won the game, and finished 4-0. I would not have wanted my time as a Friar to end any other way.
Q: Who is your favorite football player and why?
A: My all-time favorite football player has to be former Notre Dame punter Tyler Newsome. The passion and style he gave Notre Dame is something that I loved to watch and something I try to translate into my own game. I try to serve as a spark plug for my team and bring a positive attitude every day, like Newsome.
Q: Tell us a little about what sparked your initial interest in punting. Do you also handle the kicking chores for Malvern Prep?
A: Although my soccer career was short-lived, being goalie on a winless squad helped me make the transition to punting very easily. For the past two years, I have occupied the punting and holding duties for the Malvern Prep varsity football team and occasionally kick, when needed.
Q: Who have been your biggest punting mentors, and what was the most important thing you learned from each one?
A: Before I became the starting punter my junior year at Malvern Prep, I sat behind two unreal punters that went on to play Division 1 football at Power 5 schools – Garrett Reilly and Sebastian Costantini have played a significant role in my successes as a Friar. Each took me under their wing and helped me focus on utilizing my strengths and how to improve my weaknesses. Another mentor who I would not be in the position I am today without is coach Bob Powers. Coach Powers has helped guide me since the very beginning of my progress and shown me how to turn my focus up to another level on game day.
Q: Tell us a little about your pre-game preparation the day of a football game.
A: Before the kickoff, I start off my day with a solid breakfast filled with protein and fruits. I make sure to hydrate, stretch and stay relaxed throughout the day. Right before I take the field for my warm ups, I make sure I bring out two pairs of socks. It has become a pre-game ritual for me to wear the famous two pairs of socks. I wear them for a tighter fitting shoe and to keep the trend alive. When it’s time for the specialists to get loose, I do not punt. I stretch and sprint for the first 30 minutes. When I am sweating and feeling ready to roll, I slowly start to punt with my snapper. Finally, it’s game time.
Q: You wear uniform jersey No. 7 for Malvern Prep football. Why did you pick this number?
A: I’ve always felt comfortable with No. 7, and knew it would be a nice fit. In the Bible, seven means perfect.
Q: What is your favorite course at Malvern Prep? What do you think you might want to major in at college?
A: I would have to go with Economics for my favorite course at Malvern, which translates well into my intended major, Business.
Fun facts – Ronan Swope
Favorite movie: Step Brothers.
Favorite athlete: Conor McGregor.
Favorite pre-game pump-up song: Hypnotize (Notorious B.I.G.)
Favorite team: Philadelphia Eagles.
Favorite place to visit: Ocean City, N.J.
Favorite pre-game meal: Chicken parm and pasta.
Person I most admire, and why: “Someone that I have always looked up to is my trainer, agent, role model and cousin Bill Alburger. He has taught me to look out for the people who are close in our lives, help me find my motivations, and shown me how to build in my swag.”
Family members: parents Steve and Patsy, sister Maryrita.
(To be selected as Main Line Boys Athlete of the Week, a student-athlete must first be nominated by his coach.)