The first year of university is usually a time for development and growth.
Most student-athletes are trying to find their feet but some can adapt faster and there is no better example than Ryley McRae.
McRae is a Kamloops native currently enrolled in the engineering program. He was a big addition for the WolfPack after having shown promise in his high school years.
McRae has been an exceptional student averaging a 4.0 GPA, a feat pretty impressive given the challenge of his field of study.
McRae also has a long-standing relationship with head coach Brad Dalke, a coach he has worked with since he was thirteen years old.
The benefits for McRae have been evident as he hasn’t had to adapt to new training methods. Familiarity is always key for athletes particularly when they are moving to a new school and environment.
“Overall, it’s basically been a development process for him,” Dalke said. “It’s truly the first time he has been a student-athlete.”
However, Dalke acknowledged that it has been a slow start for his long-time student.
“He was slow to get going, he has progressively improved and I think that it’s not just a matter of his training improving but it’s also his recovery in combination with his studies,” he said.
McRae’s best performance was at an event in Kamloops where he managed to win five medals. It was a performance that will give him the confidence he needs to compete at the Pan-American games in Toronto.
“For him to win five medals in his off events was really exciting,” said Dalke, praising McRae’s ability to compete against more experienced athletes.
Dalke went on to state the big challenge for McRae will be on the psychological side of things. He believes that McRae is fit and strong enough to compete with older athletes but will need to get his mind sharp and focused if he is to do well.
McRae will be competing against athletes in their early to mid-twenties whilst he himself is only eighteen.
Dalke went as far as using an analogy about how NHL players only mature later on in their playing careers, maturity which he believes McRae will continue to gain as he grows.
The Pan-American games will be taking place on April 3 – 7. TRU swim fans will be hoping that their top performer can rise to the occasion when it matters most.