News
l to r: Barbara Swanick, Christina Muccini, Billy Finnegan

Billy Finnegan, who lives in Port Washington, was U.S. karate champion in his division for ten years in a row. Then in 2007 he suffered an injury in competition. Sidelined with plantar fasciitis in the right calf, Finnegan was unable to compete for over six months, missing the 2007 Nationals for the first time. Finally when his injury healed, he started to practice and compete again. But all he could think about was protecting himself from a recurrence of his earlier injury.

His coach, Tokey Hill, the former karate world champion, was at a loss to help Finnegan until he remembered a hypnotist he met four years ago at the Pan American Games, in El Salvador. The hypnotist, Barbara Swanwick, is also a Port resident. Swanwick, a board certified member of the National Guild of Hypnotists, runs Port Hypnosis, and has developed an expertise in using hypnosis for sports improvement. So Hill connected the two of them together and after only three hypnosis sessions, Finnegan could compete again. His competitors commented that he was his old confident self, as he won preliminary events leading up to the Nationals this year. Finnegan went for one more session with Swanwick just before the Nationals in July and came back from Texas victorious. Finnegan commented, "Now I use self-hypnosis. It puts me at the top of my game every time. Barbara Swanwick was my secret weapon."

Finnegan plans to compete at the Worlds in November in Japan. In 1995, while still in 10th grade, Finnegan won his first U.S. junior karate championship and since then he has consistently been America's best in his weight class, moving to senior level at 18 and regularly defeating competitors who are sometimes as much as 40 or 50 pounds heavier. With his partner, Christina Muccini, herself an eight times U.S. karate champion and a longtime Port resident, Finnegan runs the Tokey Hill Karate Center, next to The Pump gym in Roslyn. Muccini also coaches Finnegan.


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