Although Swift had played at full-back at Sandhurst, he had not played full-back in any of Richmond's or practice matches; he had "played brilliantly at centre" during the practice matches in and had satisfied Richmond that he could "play in any position" — to such an extent that the Wednesday Age speculated that he would be picked at full-back, in place of the injured Allan Cations ,  on the following Saturday. At nineteen, he played his first senior game for Richmond against South Melbourne in the first round of the season on the half-forward flank.
Richmond unexpectedly beat South Melbourne, and Swift kicked one goal. One of the football writers of The Age commenting on his debut, said that, "Fred Swift was strange early but in the last quarter showed good football sense and ability on his half-forward flank. He should develop into a useful player. He was a highly talented footballer, with great anticipation, and highly polished ball skills, and he was equally at home in the forward line  — he kicked 5 goals against Fitzroy in round 18, ; and, when moved from centre half-back to full-forward, in the last quarter against St Kilda in round 6, , he kicked 3 goals, in a losing side  — wing, centre, or in defence.
In his entire career with Richmond, he only played five games with the second eighteen. He did not play his first match with the seconds until the round 16 match against Carlton at Princes Park on Saturday, 24 August ,  by which time he had already played 83 senior games. Playing at centre half-forward,  he was best on the ground, kicking 3 goals. Ruckman Neville Crowe , was selected.
Swift played in both of Victoria's matches. He played on the half-back flank in the first match against Tasmania on 19 July ,  until he injured his ankle and was replaced; Victoria won by 61 points: His ankle recovered and he played, again on the half-back flank, in the Victorian team that finished with 17 men, that was comprehensively beaten in an extremely rough and tough match by West Australian team, on Sunday, 24 July, by 9 points: Richmond played its first match against Fitzroy on Tuesday 4 September with Swift at full-back.
In the semi-final match, on Friday, 14 September , Richmond played against the strong favourites North Melbourne. Richmond beat North Melbourne The final match of the series was originally scheduled to be played at the Lake Oval on Monday, 24 September , but was moved to Wednesday, 26 September because of bad weather. In the first four matches of , Swift played at full-forward,  kicking a total of 10 goals.
His knee was badly injured in the last quarter of the round 4 match against Collingwood,  and it was feared that he might not play again that season. However, his knee did eventually come good; and, whilst playing a couple of matches in the Second Eighteen, to get back his touch and his match fitness, he broke a bone in his hand.
This meant that he was not fit to resume his place in the senior team until the last round match against Fitzroy. Although playing with a suspect knee for his last few seasons at Richmond, Swift always gave his best; and, considering his knee problems, he had a surprising turn of speed. He ended his career at full-back, having played as a half-forward flanker and ruck-rover for his last few seasons, and only moving to full-back in the last half of his last season, in place of the injured Mick Erwin. Jack Dyer had suggested the move, on the basis of his own experience with a similar sort of knee injury, Dyer argued that, of all the positions on the field, full-back was the best for Swift, because he would have almost all of his play in front of him, and almost all of his running would be straight ahead, with a minimum of turns and sideways movement.
Although Geelong was the first to score, Richmond was a goal in front by quarter time: By half time, Richmond had increased its lead to 16 points: Geelong fought back during the third quarter and, at one stage, led by 14 points; however, Richmond counter-attacked and the scores were level. And, then, two rushed behinds right at the end of the quarter, saw Richmond two points ahead at three-quarter time: In one of the most exciting last quarters ever, Richmond was in front, then scores were level, then Geelong was in front, then scores were level, then Richmond was in front, then scores were level; and then it was time on.
Pair Swift Creek Mill’s “Tom Foolery” with Dinner for a First-Rate Date - Richmond Family Magazine
He raced back towards the goal square, just in time to intercept a kick from Colin Eales and, to add insult to injury, ran across the face of goal, bounced the ball, with Wade in hot pursuit, and calmly passed the ball to John Perry. Both Tony Polinelli and Bill Ryan kicked poorly, each scoring a behind, placing Geelong ten points behind; and then, with plenty of time for Geelong to get another goal, and breaking out of a pack, Goggin punt-kicked what seemed certain to be a goal which would have reduced the lead to a dangerous four points.
The tenacious Swift — already greatly tired from having to captain his team, counteract the stronger, heavier, and taller Wade, and kick the ball back into play after the eight behinds that Geelong had scored up to that moment in the last quarter , single-mindedly concentrating on his task, took one of the finest marks of his career at the Punt Road end of the M. He played on, and his clearing drop-kick almost hit the centre. Immediately after the Grand Final, he announced his retirement. In the following week, Swift was made the Lord Mayor of Richmond City for the day; and a photograph appeared in the Melbourne press, entitled "The day Richmond belonged to him", with Swift, in full mayoral regalia, looking down over the City of Richmond from the roof of the Richmond Town Hall.
Richmond did all it could to induce Swift's to stay in the following week, but he was adamant that he would not change his mind, and they parted on friendly terms. It is also significant to note that, although Swift tasted success as the captain of a premiership team, coached by Tom Hafey who had played beside Swift in the Richmond first eighteen in the and seasons , in his last season with Richmond, he had also experienced Richmond being far from successful for most of his career; and, when examined year by year, Swift's career of senior games clearly shows the extent to which he and Richmond had experienced hard times: In his own time with Sandhurst, he had been coached by former Hawthorn rover, by then playing as a ruckman, Kevin Curran , and by former North Melbourne wingman, Leo Francis.
In , Swift was appointed captain-coach of the Corowa Football Club. Under Swift's guidance the team, which had taken the wooden spoon in , went on to win the premiership in from fourth position. They had chosen to rob Swift's property in order to supplement their unemployment benefits. Fred used to take them fishing". Swift arrived home soon after Larson and Lee's invasion; he got out of his car, went into the house to investigate, confronted the two, and was shot in the heart and in the thigh.
He died almost immediately from his wounds. His murderers escaped in Swift's car. Larson was identified by Paul Swift who had first met Larson two years earlier ; and, despite Larson's disguise, Paul was able to identify him by his voice, his eyes, his build, and his clothing. Paul also identified Larson as the one who had been armed with the sawn-off.
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The police immediately set up road blocks, and began to search the surrounding area. Soon Swift's car was found abandoned in bushland several kilometres from the scene of the murder.
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