Gavin Dyke has made quite the name for himself in the pool.
His university swimming career is layered with accomplishments – from being named AUS Rookie of the Year in 2013-14 – all the way to breaking a 24-year old record in the 200-metre freestyle last year.
Being in the water looks easy at times for the fourth-year athlete, however his journey to the Tigers program wasn’t as simple.
A native of Mount Pearl, Newfoundland, Dyke originally chose to attend his hometown school of Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN).
He had tremendous success in his rookie season, and was the only member of the MUN squad to qualify for nationals that year.
Despite his early success at MUN, the direction of the program was up in the air, and Dyke had a difficult choice to make entering his sophomore season due to a coaching change.
During the summer of 2014 however, Dyke had been training with Dalhousie head coach Lance Cansdale, and established a strong relationship with him.
There were also better opportunities available with a stronger Tigers swimming program that had won 15 consecutive AUS titles entering the 2014-15 season.
With that in mind, Dyke approached Cansdale personally before the start of the 2014 campaign about the possibility of transferring.
“He [Lance] didn’t recruit me at all, we both had the understanding that I was going back to MUN,” says Dyke.
Cansdale waited for the green light to communicate with Dyke, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Dyke currently holds both the 100 and 200-metre freestyle records in the AUS, and has qualified for nationals very early on in all three seasons with Dalhousie.
When asked what the biggest factor has been in his development as a swimmer over the past four years, Dyke points to Cansdale.
“The relationship I have with Gavin is a pretty close one,” says Cansdale “He’s been a project, and mostly because of the potential he had coming in. He’s developed a maturity towards swimming and training. He loves to race and he loves to compete, which is a very good trait to have.”
According to Dyke, one of the biggest areas where Cansdale has been an asset has been with his confidence.
“When I came to Dal, I wasn’t as confident as I think I was at MUN, and I think that confidence is key when you come to the pool,” says Dyke.
“He got me to push my boundaries and not just look at the AUS but look at the U Sports level as well.”
That confidence was displayed yet again this past weekend at the Kemp-Fry Invitational held by Dalhousie.
Dyke was dominant, winning the 100, 200 and 400-metre freestyle events, as well as claiming top spot with his teammates in the 400 and 800-metre freestyle relays and 400-metre medley relay.
For Cansdale, the relationship he has with Dyke is reciprocal.
“He [Gavin] trusts my judgment in what I tell him or what he needs to do and that’s a two-way street,” he says.
“A lot of times I just listen to what he’s going to do, and he has a pretty good idea now of how he likes to swim his races and he’s not necessarily that far off from my plan.”
Dyke is currently ranked second in the country in the 200-metre freestyle and fourth in the 100. With one more year of eligibility still remaining, it appears the sky is the limit.
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