From personal experience, few are able to compete against my axe on the server I frequent, but then again few have been on the server for even half as long as I have, so I can't really give a fair comparison. I believe that they are pretty evenly matched statistically, at that point it comes down to skill and strategy.
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Check out my Lets Play! It would be much appreciated! :3
Axes have nice mcmmo boosts such as critical hit, amor mastery and struck with great force. This boosts the damage by a load if your axe skill is high.
Swords only has bleed but the base damage is higher than a normal axe.
I would say if your axe skill is above 175 grab an axe and go shredding noobs
server ip i play on: mc.jujucraft.net