A Huntley High School teenager who in May set a world record in the bench press among his age and weight class is taking his talents to Prague.
The American Powerlifting Association has invited Dominic Swanson, 15, to represent the USA Team during the 2013 World Powerlifting Congress World Championships Oct. 26 to Nov. 3 in the Czech Republic.
Powerlifting involves the bench press, squat and dead lift. It can also involve a single bench press. Dominic will represent the United States in all four disciplines and compete in the 220-pound weight class with teenagers between 13 and 15 years old.
The Union resident's only trip abroad has been to Jamaica. And while he's excited about the flight and seeing some of the sights in the capital city of Prague, his main mission is to crush the competition.
"(It's) just competing and hopefully doing really good and beating everyone that I can over there and being able to represent Team USA," he said.
Swanson holds state and national records in the squat, dead lift and bench press. He also broke the world record for a single lift, raw bench press in May during the National Powerlifting Championships in Dearborn, Mich. He hoisted 259 pounds, shattering the 8-year-old record of 244.5 pounds. The Huntley village board honored that milestone by recognizing him at a July board meeting.
Gary Swanson, Dominic's father and coach, says his son's performance in Michigan is what propelled him to the world championships. Father and son will both be making the trip.
"We expected he'd probably get an invite, being a world record holder in the bench press," Gary Swanson said. "With the invite, he's kind of psyched up a little bit more."
When Dominic was 13, he snagged first place in his age range and weight class at the American Powerlifting Federation/Amateur American Powerlifting Federation Illinois Power Raw Challenge.
Competing "raw" means Dominic won't be allowed to wear special clothing such as a custom-made squat suit, a dead lift suit and a bench shirt that helps powerlifters during competition.
He'll be competing raw in Prague as well.
When he's not powerlifting, Dominic is on Huntley's wrestling, football, and track and field teams.
Gary Swanson is a former powerlifter and trains his son in a 2,000-square-foot gym he built in the family's backyard. Dominic, who has been lifting since he was 8, trains four times a week and runs up to three miles on his off days.
The father-son duo have been working toward this goal for a long time and they can't wait to see how well he does.
"It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a kid," Gary Swanson said.
"For him to be invited to go as a kid and the work ethic he put in ... I don't take any credit for it. I just teach him."