Ash caught Swellow as a Taillow in You Never Can Taillow!. It was the leader of a flock of wild Taillow. It stole Max's chocolate and challenged Pikachu to a battle. It also led the entire flock on a ceaseless attack until Brock and his Forretress intervened and used Explosion to drive them away. Taillow then showed up alone and challenged Pikachu, and even though it took countless Thunderbolts and a Thunder from Pikachu it still kept fighting. On Brock's advice, Ash captured Taillow to prevent it from getting hurt anymore. Ash then sent it out and Brock helped it recover.
Its first official battle was against Nicholai and his Zigzagoon in In the Knicker of Time!. Taillow's impressive flying techniques allowed it to match Nicholai's newly caught Pokémon well. The winner of the battle though is unknown. It also fought against Anthony's Pelipper in You Said a Mouthful!, where it handled the battle well but lost when a Magby hidden inside Pelipper's bill used Flamethrower.
In Brave the Wave, Ash chose it to battle the Fighting-type Gym Leader Brawly's Machop. Taillow managed to land several Wing Attacks on Machop, but Brawly's Pokémon managed to weather the attacks to land a devastating Cross Chop at the vital moment, taking Taillow out in a single hit. Taillow, with Corphish, Treecko and Pikachu, took up a meditation program to prepare for the rematch. However, Taillow was substituted for Corphish in the rematch.
In Pros and Con Artists, Ash used Taillow to battle Drew and his Roselia, as shown in a flashback later in the episode Ash was sure Taillow could beat Roselia due to Taillow having a type advantage. Taillow used Peck which hit Roselia, whom quickly counterattacked with Magical Leaf. Taillow swiftly dodged it and Roselia used Petal Dance, which Taillow dodged by flying upwards. It then went for a Peck but Roselia used Stun Spore. Taillow attempted to dodge by flying upwards but it was hit by the Stun Spore anyways, paralyzing it. May then arrived at what Drew called the best part, Roselia used Solar Beam, and due to the paralysis Taillow was unable to dodge, causing the Solar Beam to hit Taillow and knock it out.
In That's Just Swellow, Ash entered Taillow in the Crossgate PokéRinger competition. Unbelievable determination allowed Taillow to shrug off Electric-type attacks that defending champion Volt's Volbeat was using and it made a counterattack to fly to victory. In the final, Taillow went up against James and Dustox, starting strongly until a sand tornado kicked up. Determined to win, Taillow flew into the storm, but was too small against the gale. Desperate, it evolved into Swellow and easily broke through, using Wing Attack to flick the ring onto the goal and win the tournament, earning Ash honorary citizenship of Crossgate Town. It then singlehandedly sent the sore losers Team Rocket blasting off.
Several episodes later, in Sky High Gym Battle!, Swellow fought Winona's Shiny Swellow despite Winona's using more powerful attacks such as Hyper Beam and Aerial Ace. However, Ash quickly recovered from Hyper Beam and ordered Swellow to create a dust cloud to blind and slow Winona's Swellow down. It then struck with Wing Attack and knocked out Winona's Swellow, winning the battle for Ash. After this victory, Ash became determined to teach his Swellow Aerial Ace, beginning in Pokéblock, Stock, and Berry. Swellow initially struggled but with the help of Vladimir and his Pidgeotto, Ash was able to teach Swellow the move in Lessons in Lilycove!.
In Solid as a Solrock it teamed up with Pikachu in a Double Battle against Tate and Liza, as Ash inspected the terrain and decided an aerial fighter would be necessary. The two of them struggled to defeat Lunatone and Solrock, with Swellow only landing a Peck on Lunatone with little damage inflicted. Swellow came to Pikachu's rescue, bearing it into the air and away from the plummeting it was taking. Pikachu's Thunderbolt was sent back onto the team by Lunatone's Light Screen, but Swellow managed to shrug off most of the damage. Swellow then used a newly learned Double Team to distract the duo while it flew above them. Pikachu used Thunder on some thunder clouds above with the clouds spitting the electricity back at Pikachu and Swellow. What should have hurt Swellow and Pikachu powered them up instead and turned them a metallic golden color, called Thunder Armor. Swellow easily diverted Solar Beam and Ice Beam and then took Lunatone out with a supercharged Aerial Ace.
In Eight Ain't Enough, Ash used Swellow in the second round of his Sootopolis Gym battle, going up against Juan's Whiscash. Swellow used Quick Attack but was caught by Whiscash's barbel's, and then used Tickle to weaken Swellow's Defense. Whiscash then launched a Hyper Beam which Swellow was unable to dodge due to still being caught in Whiscash's barbels. Much to Juan's surprise Swellow got up and got free from the barbel's. Swellow launched Aerial Ace and Juan had Whiscash go underwater, but much to his surprise Swellow was able to dive underwater and hit Whiscash with the attack. Whiscash launched another Hyper Beam which Swellow dodged using its Quick Attack. It then transitioned into Aerial Ace. Whiscash attempted to dodge by diving underwater but Swellow was faster, hitting Whiscash and knocking it out. Juan then used his last and most powerful Pokémon, Milotic. Milotic used Hydro Pump, which Swellow was able to dodge and landed an Aerial Ace, but it didn't do much damage to the Tender Pokémon. Milotic used Iron Tail which Swellow dodged by using Double Team, but Milotic used Twister, destroying the copies and crashing Swellow into the roof, knocking Swellow out.
In A Judgment Brawl, Ash used Swellow as his fifth Pokémon in his Full Battle against Katie in the Victory Tournament part of the Ever Grande Conference, it went up against Katie's Venomoth since it had a Type Advantage against it. Venomoth used Stun Spore, but Swellow was able to dodge it successfully and hit Venomoth with Peck, but Venomoth countered with Disable, disabling Swellow's Peck for a while. Unconcerned as it had more Flying-type moves than Peck Ash had Swellow use Aerial Ace, making a direct hit. Venomoth countered with Supersonic, but Swellow used Quick Attack, dodging Supersonic and hitting Venomoth, knocking it out. It then went up against her Scizor. Both Pokémon used Quick Attack and clashed multiple times but neither was able to gain an advantage over the other. Swellow used Peck but this was countered by Scizor's Double Team who dodged the attack. Scizor, with the Double Team copies, used Metal Claw and Swellow countered with a Double Team of its own and dodged. It then used Aerial Ace with the Double Team copies, but Scizor transitioned into Hidden Power and destroyed the copies, but Swellow was able to dodge and used Quick Attack. Scizor then used Metal Claw but that Swellow was just a Double Team copy and the real Swellow used its Aerial Ace which was sped up by Quick Attack, successfully hitting Scizor and knocking it out. Katie then sent out her last Pokémon, her Walrein. Swellow used Quick Attack but it did nothing to Walrein and was deflected. Walrein used Ice Beam and although it didn't make a direct hit it hit one of Swellow's wings. Swellow used Peck but Walrein dodged by going underwater, as it was a water field. Walrein then came from behind and used Ice Beam, knocking Swellow out.
In Choose It or Lose It!, Ash used Swellow as his fifth Pokémon in his Full Battle against Morrison in the Victory Tournament, it went up against Morrison's Gligar. Gligar started out with Guillotine, which was a one-hit knockout move, but Swellow used Double Team to avoid the attack. It used Peck but was dodged and Gligar used Iron Tail, but Swellow dodged with Quick Attack. Gligar then used Hidden Power instead and hit Swellow, but it was able to recover using Aerial Ace while Gligar used Steel Wing, with both of them taking the attack. They then repeated their attacks and dealt major damage. This is repeated a third time, with the collision ending their battle in a tie.
In At the End of the Fray, Ash used Swellow as his fourth Pokémon in his Full Battle against Tyson in the Victory Tournament, it went up against his powerful Hariyama, who had already defeated Torkoal and Corphish. Swellow used Peck, which the Arm Thrust Pokémon was able to catch in its hands. It then used Seismic Toss, throwing Swellow into a rock. Hariyama followed up with Focus Punch but Swellow used Aerial Ace, allowing it to avoid Focus Punch and hit Hariyama to knock it out. It then went up against Tyson's Donphan who used Sandstorm, causing Ash to be unable to see Swellow. Swellow flapped its wings to remove the Sandstorm, but this gave Donphan the opportunity to use Rollout and knock Swellow to the ground. Donphan used multiple Rollout attacks hitting Swellow each time and getting more powerful with each successful attack. Donphan launched another Rollout, intending to finish Swellow off as it lay on the ground, but at the last second Swellow was able to catch Donphan using its legs. Swellow lifted off and then threw the Armor Pokémon into a rock, knocking it out. It then went up against Tyson's Metagross. The Iron Leg Pokémon used Psychic, dealing damage and trapping Swellow in the air, with it unable to break free until it used Quick Attack, but Metagross's high Defense allowed it to deflect the attack and cause Swellow to take damage. Metagross then finished the battle with Hyper Beam, knocking Swellow out. Despite the loss Swellow was able to make a crack in Metagross's body during the battle that would later be used by Grovyle and Pikachu, the latter managing to defeat it.
Kanto Battle Frontier
Swellow went with Ash through the Kanto Battle Frontier and fought well against Frontier Brains. In Tactics Theatrics!!, it teamed up with Corphish to battle Dome Ace Tucker and his Swampert and Arcanine. Swellow launched a Quick Attack on Swampert, but Arcanine leapt forward and collided with Swellow, knocking it away from its intended target. It kept trying to attack Swampert, but Arcanine's speed proved too great and it continued to block it. Swellow managed to dodge Flamethrower with Double Team, but Arcanine powered up into a Fire Blast and hit Swellow dead on. After some maneuvering from Arcanine and Swampert, Swellow and Corphish were trapped inside a fire and water structure. After getting out, Swellow managed to smash Arcanine into Swampert for a direct hit on both, while Corphish protected Swellow from Fire Blast with Bubble Beam. The smoke from the clash between bubbles and fire blinded both of Tucker's Pokémon and Swellow managed to hit Swampert in its blind spot. Swampert fainted just as Corphish finished off Arcanine, winning Ash the Tactics Symbol.
In Ka Boom with a View!, Swellow went up against Spenser's Venusaur, who had just flattened Ash's Heracross. Changing tactics, Ash ordered Swellow to fly towards the ocean. While flying, it could easily dodge Venusaur's Vine Whip and Razor Leaf. On the beach battle recommenced with Swellow dodging all of Venusaur's attacks with Double Team and striking hard with Quick Attack. A final Aerial Ace took down Venusaur and Spenser replaced it with Claydol. Swellow was noticeably worried but fought on anyway with Quick Attack. However, Claydol dodged with Teleport and then knocked Swellow out of the air with Rapid Spin. A follow-up Hyper Beam knocked Swellow out of the match.
In Slaking Kong, Swellow took on a giant robot Slaking long enough for Sceptile to rescue May. It then slammed it into the ground to permit others to attack it. In Aipom and Circumstance, it took on a whole flock of mechanical Fearow despite being outnumbered and managed to cause serious damage.
In The Semi-Final Frontier!, Swellow was brought back to Ash's team where it battled against Tobias in the semi-finals of the Lily of the Valley Conference. Swellow was Ash's second Pokémon to battle Tobias's Latios after Sceptile was defeated. It used Quick Attack on Latios, but the Eon Pokémon dodged it. Swellow then used Aerial Ace and flew from the sky towards Latios, coming down with great force. However, Latios used Luster Purge on Swellow, knocking it out.
It was mentioned in The Fires of a Red-Hot Reunion! by Professor Oak, who mentioned that Swellow would sometimes have air races with Staraptor at the lab, and Unfezant would make a good addition to those races.
Swellow was later reunited with Ash in The Dream Continues!, where it and the rest of Ash's Pokémon posed in a group photo with him.
Personality and characteristics
Right from its debut as a Taillow, Swellow has been tough and persistent. It has been noted many times in the anime how Swellow was overly stubborn and would fight to its last breath in a battle, rather than give up. An example of Swellow’s determination was in Solid as a Solrock where Ash, knowing that Swellow would enjoy the challenge, ordered a Thunder attack on it. Swellow, determined to win their battle against Tate and Liza, took the attack and used it to win the Double Battle.
|A † shows that the move was used recently, unless all moves fit this case or there are fewer than five known moves.|
|Picture||First Used In||Moves Involved||Partnered With|
|Solid as a Solrock||Thunder||Ash's Pikachu|
|Description: Pikachu attacked both himself and Swellow with Thunder. This increased their attack power greatly, allowing them to easily overpower and defeat Tate and Liza's Lunatone and Solrock.|
In the manga
In the Ash & Pikachu manga
Swellow first appeared as a Taillow in I'll Win With My Own Battle Style!!. It later appeared as a Swellow in Battle Till The End! Drake, One Of The Elite Four! where it fought in a Double Battle alongside Pikachu against Drake's Shelgon and Salamence. It was able to defeat the former but lost to the latter. Swellow reappeared in Start Of The Pokémon League!! where it fought against Morrison's Gligar and tied.
|A † shows that the move was used recently, unless all moves fit this case or there are fewer than five known moves.|
In the TCG
Ash's Swellow is featured in the Pokémon Trading Card Game. The following is a list of related cards.
| Ash's Swellow|
Cards listed with a blue background are only legal to use in the current Expanded format.
Cards listed with a silver background are legal to use in both the current Standard and Expanded formats.
|Ash's Swellow||Movie Commemoration VS Pack: Aura's Lucario||007/020|
- Swellow was Ash's first Hoenn Pokémon to fully evolve.
|This article is part of Project Anime, a Bulbapedia project that covers all aspects of the Pokémon anime.|