Shawn Swords calls helping Canada qualify for the Sydney Olympics one of his greatest basketball memories.
It will soon be eclipsed by the experience of playing in the Games themselves.
While Swords was a member of the national team that earned Canada the right to play in Sydney, it didn't mean an automatic spot on the Olympic roster for him.
Swords had to undergo weeks of endless workouts before being told he had made the final cut and would head to Australia.
The announcement was a welcome relief to Swords, who admits the emotional pressure was almost as gruelling as the physical workouts.
The Ottawa native just completed a two-year contract with Basket Club Bancourt in the Swiss pro league and recently signed a new deal to play in France this fall.
Last season, the 26-year-old averaged 17.2 points and 4.7 rebounds per game in Switzerland. He feels his European experience has paid dividends in his Olympic quest.
"It's a job over there," says Swords. "I think that aspect of it helped me improve as a player."
Last season, Swords averaged nine minutes per game with the Canadian national team, but throughout the Olympic tryouts and exhibition matches, the guard saw his playing time increase to 15 minutes.
"I feel more comfortable as a player this year. I feel a lot more confident and came in with the drive to help the team," said Swords. "Defensively, I'm playing some of my best basketball. I don't hurt us. Offensively, I make good decisions. I don't turn the ball over and I can run the offence."
-- LISA BURKE
-- Ottawa Sun
Canada def. Russia 86-83 in double overtime to finish in seventh place overall.
Men: Canada lost 68-63 to France in quarter-final game; advances to playoff for seventh or eighth place.
Canada def. Yugoslavia 83-75 to wind up in first place in Pool B with a 4-1 record, qualifying to meet France in the quarter-finals.
Canada lost 77-59 to Russia, dropping 3-1 in Pool B.
Men: Canada def. Spain 91-77, lifting record to 3-0 and advancing to quarter-finals.
Men: Canada def. Angola 99-54, raising record to 2-0 in Pool B.
Canada def. Australia 101-90 in first preliminary round game.
2000 Games Basketball Coverage