Dash for Cash win good exam stress relief for Gryphon Vranic

Rob Massey, Guelph Sports Journal

GUELPH — A dip in the pool proved to be a good stress reliever from exams for third-year University of Guelph economics and finance student Phil Vranic, and it netted him a little extra holiday spending money, too.

Vranic, a member of the university’s varsity swim team, claimed the victory in the male 17-and-over’s 100-metre freestyle, the final race of the opening day of the Guelph Marlin Aquatic Club’s annual Dash for Cash meet at the Gryphon Aquatics Centre. It came on the day he finished writing his first-semester exams.

“I swam this morning, wrote my exam and then came back to swim again,” Vranic said. “It’s a long day. It feels like it’s past midnight and it’s not 10 o’clock yet.”

While Vranic was happy with the winning swim, he knows it can be better.

“It was a pretty good swim for right now,” Vranic said. “There’s obviously some things I could do better. I need more stroke rate, my finish was a little sloppy.”

While all university swimmers cut back on their time in the pool during exams, it’s not a huge reduction in pool time.

“It’s a little bit less because you need to study significantly more during this time of year, but going to practice is good stress relief and you need to take breaks,” Vranic said. “You can’t just study all day, so coming to practice and staying in shape and in the water and everything is a good way to blow off some steam and sort of reset your head.”

The university swimmers will head home for a Christmas break following the meet, but they will be back in Guelph before the end of the year to get ready for the second half of the season.

“We’re going to have a training camp here in Guelph this year. We’re not going anywhere,” Vranic said. “I think it’ll be good to have all our resources available to us — our own pool, our own weight room. Everything. I think it’ll be a good time to get some good quality work in and get ready for OUAs and CIs in February.”

Following their camp, the Gryphons will host an invitational meet Jan. 8 and Vranic will hope that meet kick starts a good second half to the university swimming season.

“So far it’s been pretty good,” he said of the 2016-17 campaign. “The change of coaches didn’t really affect much. It was a pretty smooth transition and everyone seems to be rolling along and going pretty well. We’ve got a lot of good work in this year and it’s only going to get better.”

Kendra Burton took over as head coach of the Gryphons, adding that to her title as head coach of the Marlins, after Don Burton stepped down from the U of G coaching position after he was named the head coach of the Scarborough-based Ontario Swimming Academy.

“They have very similar philosophies,” Vranic said of the Burtons. “A bit different way about going about things as, obviously, they are different people and different personalities. It’s hard work and a lot of attention to detail.”

Vranic will be aiming to reach his goals during the second half of the season that wraps up with the OUA championships at Toronto Feb. 9-11 and the U Sports championships at Sherbrooke, Que., Feb. 23-25.

“Personal bests, some individual medals and relay medals at OUAs and hopefully some top eight or top 10 finishes at the CIS (U Sports) championships, depending on what they swim,” he said. “It’s probably a 10-lane pool so it’ll probably be 10-lane finals. That’s the goal.”

The Dash for Cash meet is run in a format that sees the 13-and-over competitors swim in heats in the morning and the top eight in each event are invited back for the evening finals. The 12-and-under group swims in afternoon timed events.

Several events are designated as the cash events. Friday’s money swims were the 100m backstroke and 100m freestyle in each category.

The meet continues Saturday and is to wrap up Sunday. Cash events Saturday are the 100m breaststroke (13-and-over) and 100m butterfly and Sunday’s cash events are the 200m individual medley, 800m freestyle and 100m breaststroke (12-and-under).