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Bill Swing, Longtime Photographer of Carpinteria High, Cate Athletic Events, Passes Away

He volunteered his time to shoot games and donated photos to student athletes, schools, local paper

Bill Swing, a photographer of athletic events at Carpinteria High and Cate School for many years, passed away last week after a brief illness. He was 74.

Swing volunteered his time to shoot all levels of athletic competitions for the two Carpinteria schools and donated his photos to the students, the schools and the Coastal View News newspaper in Carpinteria.

“I actually have a bit of an aversion to charging people any money,” the ever-so humble Swing said in a 2012 story about him on the former local sports website Presidiosports.com. “(But) I love being taken out to breakfast or being invited to the season’s sports banquets … that’s payment enough.”

Carpinteria High’s sports boosters club honored Swing as a “Warrior Hero” and he was going to be recognized at a Carpinteria Chamber of Commerce event later this year.

His passing leaves a huge void in the community. He was a fixture on the sidelines for all events at Carpinteria and Cate and was incredibly passionate about his work.

“Bill Swing will always be an integral part of CHS athletics and his passing will leave a great void in the Warrior family,” Carpinteria Athletic Director Pat Cooney told Noozhawk. “Acting as the photo-historian for the last decade, Bill has left a legacy that is incredibly well documented in the millions of photographs that he shared with us.  Each photo is a testament to his generosity, professionalism, and creative talent.

“However, the most challenging aspect of Bill's passing is that his importance to Carpinteria High School goes much deeper than the photographs.  Bill struck bonds with coaches, officials, and teachers while taking a true interest in students.  His infectious good attitude has made every Warrior feel like they are part of the greater team.  What a good example to all of us!  What a Warrior!”

Bill Swing shot the student athletes competing for Carpinteria High and Cate School since the mid-1990s. Click to view larger
Bill Swing shot the student athletes competing for Carpinteria High and Cate School since the mid-1990s. (Presidio Sports photo)

Swing worked tirelessly to shoot the student athletes at Carpinteria and Cate.  

When asked how many athletic events he shot during a year, he replied: “When I’m really tired, way too many. But, at the end of the summer, not enough.”

Swing also was a great help to the athletic departments. If needed, he would volunteer to drive a team van to an athletic event.

"To anyone who has attended an athletic event in the Carpinteria Valley over the last decade, Bill Swing was a very familiar face," Cate Athletic Director Wade Ransom told Noozhawk.  "Bill was so generous with his time and expertise, he rarely missed games at Carpinteria High and Cate. He was all about capturing our students' most precious and successful moments. He never asked for anything in return and yet he left us with thousands of memories in the form of the pictures he has shared with students, teachers, parents and coaches.

"These pictures can be found all over the Mesa, in dorm rooms, offices and homes. We are so grateful for Bill's involvement and support of our program over the years, he is a Ram through and through and Bill will certainly be missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife Roxana and son Tyson during this difficult time."

Swing started shooting Carpinteria area prep sports when his son, Tyson, was competing for Carpinteria High in the early 1990s.

He began videotaping Carpinteria High track and field and cross country in 1990 for the kids and started shooting digital still photos around 1995.

Said Peter Dugre, the former sports editor at Coastal Views, of Swing in the Presidiosports.com story: “He is as much a part of Carpinteria athletics as anyone who sets foot on a court or field.”

In 2002, Swing had his right leg amputated below the knee due to complications from diabetes. He wore a prosthesis and kept on going.

His love of photographing of the events and the interaction with the young athletes kept him energized.

“I have said to friends that my volunteering to work with the kids in high school is selfish due to all the advantages that I gain:  exercise and infectious influences that the kids place on me … probably the best thing to keep me young,” he said in the Presidiosports.com story.

Swing attended Pasadena High, but found his way to Carpinteria through surfing.

“I was not into school sports but began to meet people in Carpinteria while surfing in the late 1950s,” he said. “As soon as I graduated from high school, I moved to Carpinteria and have been here since.”

Swing is survived by his wife, Rosana and son, Tyson.

A public celebration of his life will be announced at a later date.

Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk Sports on Twitter: @NoozhawkSports. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook

—Editor's note: Barry Punzal wrote the story about Bill Swing for Presidiosports.com

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