Detroit native Spencer Swies never thought that the show his mother and sister enjoyed over the years, “The Bachelorette,” would be one on which he’d one day be featured as a contestant.

Swies, 27, attended the United States Military Academy West Point and had planned on a lengthy career in the U.S. Army.

Fate would have other plans, however, and after a few years and moves — from serving as an intelligence officer to branching out to artillery and ending his brief military tenure as a recruiter in Chicago, Illinois — Swies separated from the Army. Unbeknownst to him, it would be his first step toward vying for love as a member of “Bachelor Nation.”

After hanging up his uniform, Swies enrolled in the MBA program at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and began preparing for his life, post-service. That’s when his sister made the recommendation to go on “The Bachelorette.”

“My sister was the one who nominated me,” Swies told Military Times. “Many people have been like, ‘I didn’t see you, you know, going on a reality TV show.’ But at the end of the day, I thought it was a cool way to meet a girl.”

This season was particularly novel for the fact that two women — Rachel Recchia and Gabby Windey — were both looking for love among the same pool of eligible bachelors.

Swies took to Windey early on in the show.

“She comes from a military family as well” he noted. “It was actually a pretty easy connection that we made just on that alone. And she was amazing. So while it didn’t work out, I was so happy I got to meet her.”

Indeed, Swies made it to week six on the show, which included a trip to Amsterdam, before being denied a rose. In the end, his screen time was fairly minimal.

“I had 4.9 minutes over six episodes from the data that I was able to gather from a friend,” he joked. “That was the lowest amount of screen time anyone’s ever had for making it that far. It’s my claim to fame in the Bachelor universe.”

To some extent, the former soldier blamed his learned rigidity. While Swies says he has no regrets about his time on the show, he did admit that if he had it to do over, he might loosen up a bit.

“I think I probably would have had more fun with it,” he said. “I don’t want to say that nine years of military training inhibited my ability to be emotionally vulnerable. Being the military guy, maybe I was not as open as some of the people are.”

That rigidity, he surmised, came from a place of wanting to represent himself, and, to an extent, both the Army and the military at-large, in the best light.

“I was definitely ... probably too self conscious about how I was going to be portrayed, or what I was saying,” Swies said. “That kind of weight was a little bit too stressful for me at the time. I wish I just kind of lightened up a little bit more and was able to show that the military has fun people, too. We do have personalities.”

As for whether or not Swies will continue to participate in #BachelorNation activities, such as “Bachelor in Paradise” or another season of “The Bachelor(ette),” the former soldier was skeptical.

“I fully support all of my friends from the show who are still planning on being around in the Bachelor Nation for a while,” he said. “I honestly just don’t have the time. I’m not smart enough to [pursue my MBA] and read and engage with everything and everyone, and then do all these other things.”

Swies, for now, is simply excited to wrap up his degree and set his sights on more entrepreneurial ventures.

“My focus right now is the University of Chicago Booth,” he added. “It’s one of the best schools in the world. I’m extremely lucky to have gotten in. I had so much help getting to where I am now, and I don’t want to waste a minute of it.”

Observation Post is the Military Times one-stop shop for all things off-duty. Stories may reflect author observations.

Sarah Sicard is a Senior Editor with Military Times. She previously served as the Digitial Editor of Military Times and the Army Times Editor. Other work can be found at National Defense Magazine, Task & Purpose, and Defense News.

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