MEN'S SWIMMING: Breaststroke Records Fall As Stranick Leads Eagles In The Pool
Published: Monday, January 28, 2013
Updated: Monday, January 28, 2013 02:01
It was his first club meet ever. His event was the 200 freestyle. Six years old, he dove into the pool as the race began–only to choke on a mouthful of pool water and panic. Too emotionally distraught to continue, he sat in the pool crying for the duration of the 200 free, and in between sobs and coughs of chlorinated water, declared he was never racing again.
Fourteen years later, Andrew Stranick still remembers his first club race. He’s pretty glad he didn’t stick to his ultimatum. Swimming four years of varsity in high school and captaining his team his senior year, the sophomore has had an extremely successful career since the infamous mouthful of water incident.
Additionally, Stranick made waves for the Charlotte based club team SwimMAC Carolina and still trains with the club during the summer.
Back in November at the Terrier Invitational, Stranick highlighted an already impressive sophomore season by leading his team to a third place finish out of five with the University of Massachusetts coming away with the overall win.
In the 100 breaststroke, he swam a 55.71, breaking his own school record of 56.93 by nearly a full second. His weekend wasn’t over, however, and in the 200 breaststroke he finished with another school record of 2:03.44.
He contributes a lot of his motivation to his teammates.
“It was just a really exciting time. I was feeding off other peoples’ energies,” Stranick said. “There’s a lot of really good kids I train with on the team, a lot of studs. That’s definitely one of the reasons I’ve been swimming so fast this year, because I’ve got a lot of great people to train with.”
Out of the pool and away from his teammates, Stranick’s dedication to his diet may be a contributing factor to his success as well. A common thread among swimmers, he is infamous for the sheer amount of food that he puts away.
“I eat a ton,” Stranick said, laughing. “I always get made fun of by my roommates because I’m always the first person to run out on my meal plan. They call me a mooch because last year I ran out of my meal plan around Halloween,” said Stranick. “Five meals a day and you know, bam, it just disappears. If I don’t eat a certain amount of food during the day, I just can’t do practice.”
Stranick’s eating habits are not only on display during the semester, but also during winter break and the Eagles’ training camp.
“We come back about two weeks ahead of everybody and we’re here, training pretty much twice a day every single day up until school starts” Stranick said. “You’re literally doing nothing but eating, sleeping, and swimming, and lifting if you can fit that in. But it’s a lot of fun, I got a lot out of it this year.”
With so much time dedicated to preparation for the later half of the season, the rest of team is feeling the benefits as well. The Eagles are 18-2 on the season and have won five out of their last six meets since coming back from break.
Though there have been strong performances from all over the team, Stranick has been leading the pack with a number of impressive performances.
Head coach Tom Groden is complimentary of the elements that Stranick brings to the team, both in competition and in the team dynamic.
“Andrew has been a great addition,” Groden said. “He brings not only a great work ethic to our practices but a great sense of being a teammate. Andrew contributes in many ways. Besides being a Boston College record setter, he also helps the team with an endless positive attitude towards both BC and its swim team.”
Stranick swims a number of individual events and relays at each meet, but specializes in the breaststroke. It wasn’t always that way, though.
“I was a backstroker up until about age 14, and then I started having shoulder problems,” Stranick said. “I had tendinitis and I think that’s kind of when I made the transition. I started churning breaststroke in IM a lot and then I think at age 15 or 16 I started getting good at it.”
In the pool, the transition appears to have gone smoothly, and Stranick has the fluidity of a long time breaststroker.
These days when gearing up for a race, Stranick has his own individual way of achieving focus and, unlike Ryan Lochte, he uses a method that doesn’t involve peeing in the pool.
“I do the same warm up every single time I swim in a meet. That never changes,” Stranick said. “I usually just sit down and chill and drink water, put a towel over my head and listen to music.”
While some athletes rely on a large range of music to set their moods, Stranick chooses only a couple songs.
“Recently it’s been a lot of A$AP Rocky,” he said. “I think I have a one track mind sometimes. I get overly obsessed with one thing and I just kind of listen to it over and over. But that usually does the trick. I can usually just sit and listen to one song. It helps me kind of block everything else out.”
While he may utilize a quirky strategy to focus, Stranick never has to strive for motivation.
“I think the huge difference in college swimming versus high school is that it was a lot harder for me to enjoy swimming in high school, and I thought to swim fast because I was swimming for myself, and I wasn’t swimming for the team really. You come to BC or wherever else you’re swimming, and for us, you have the BC logo on your cap and you put it on and you’re like ‘Oh wow, I’m swimming for the University and not for myself,’ and that means a ton more,” said Stranick.