By Maleesa Johnson
Senior sprinter Zwede Hewitt, standing 6 feet 1 inch tall, looks like a typical collegiate track star. However, his past and future prove otherwise.
In 2008, Hewitt arrived where many athletes only dream of being. He was representing his country, Trinidad and Tobago, at the Olympics.
When reviewing this experience, Hewitt describes his trip to Beijing, China, primarily as a learning experience.
“It was amazing to see some of the best athletes in the world,” Hewitt said. “I’ve seen what it takes. I’ve seen how they live, how they eat. I’ve seen the life of the Olympic champion.”
Unfortunately, due to a strained hamstring, Hewitt was not able to run.
This setback, though disappointing, failed to dampen his spirit.
“Injuries are a part of sports,” Hewitt said. “It’s something you have to accept.”
One year later, Hewitt ended up miles from home at Baylor University.
At the time, his father worked for Gill Athletics and had a business partner connected with Baylor.
Through a series of events, Hewitt was recruited and in the fall of 2009, he began competing on the Baylor track team.
In Hewitt’s senior season, he earned All-American Outdoors honors in the 400 meters, the 4×100-meter relay, and the 4×400-meter relay.
He also earned All-American Indoors honors in the 4×400-meter relay.
Hewitt no longer competes for Baylor or is affiliated with the NCAA, but he continues to train alongside the team at the Hart-Patterson Track & Field Complex.
Hewitt practices a minimum of five days a week. In three of these days, he is awake by 7 a.m. to lift weights before class.
His goal is to return to the Olympic scene in 2016 for the Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
“It is my long-term goal,” Hewitt said. “I do it for the self-satisfaction of knowing that I’ve been one of the best in the world.”
This goal clearly requires large amounts of time and effort.
Hewitt has very little time off and even works out on some Saturdays.
In addition to workouts and practices, he makes an effort to eat healthy and get plenty of sleep. When reflecting upon the schedule of the average student, Hewitt admits he has had to do things differently.
“I am more tired and fatigued every day,” Hewitt said. “I have to have a lot more focused on discipline and have to sleep more.”
Woodrow Randall, Hewitt’s former teammate at Baylor and fellow runner, has complete confidence in Hewitt.
“He has a good chance of making it far,” Randall said. “Zwede has a great work ethic and always takes steps to get faster.”
Like Hewitt, Randall ran track for Baylor, but currently runs professionally as a sprinter for Nike.
Randall said that running professionally is harder than running at the collegiate level. However, he goes into each race with the motivation simply not to lose and to run his best.
He says he is sure it is the same for Hewitt.
“He does what can to better himself,” Randall said. “He is a great athlete as well as a great person.”
As a competing nation, Trinidad and Tobago has won 18 medals in its history, and 14 of them have come in track and field events.