Student Athlete Feature: Matthew Vihant
Meet Matthew Vihant, a student athlete.
In this eighth and final student athlete feature, we introduce you to Matthew Vihant – a fourth-year Real Estate and Housing student at the University of Guelph, and a member of the Guelph Gryphons men’s golf team.
Tomas Karageorgos is the sports reporter for EMERGE News NOW, and conducted a Q&A with Matthew to talk about how he has been staying active during the COVID-19 pandemic.
What was your routine like, pre-pandemic?
Between practicing on the golf course and prepping for tournaments didn’t really vary that much. What I would work on each day varied, whether that was short game, long game, course management and things like that. It kind of depended on what tournament I had coming up – what I had identified as areas to emphasize that were more important than others leading up to the tournament. Given the course or the weather conditions, things of that nature.
How did you balance school and golf?
It was definitely difficult. Especially with the golf season being so short – it’s six to eight weeks depending on the season. Preparation and time management was super important. I think just sticking to a schedule every week, knowing what classes you have, what assignments you have – just so you have a really good understanding of what’s coming up, what you need to focus on for school or for golf. I think just sticking to a regimented schedule is the most important thing to be successful in both school and on the golf course.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, how have you been training and keeping fit?
When the pandemic began in March, the golf season hadn’t really started yet. There was a little bit of practicing indoors and obviously when the pandemic hit, everything shut down – there was not a lot of practice for the first month or so. Luckily golf was one of the few sports where you could be outdoors and you could practice physical distancing at all times and still be able to play the sport – most other sports you aren’t that lucky. Luckily golf wasn’t as affected in terms of your ability to prepare and practice and play as other sports. Throughout the summer, not much really had changed in terms of being able to practice from previous years. That just goes back to how lucky we are able to practice and play outdoors, not get close to anyone and still kind of do what you did pre-pandemic.
This pandemic has really opened everyone’s eyes to what other activities can be done outdoors. For example, my family is really big into road biking and we got back into that this past summer, so that was a great thing to do outdoors. You could still see people, be with people but still maintain that physical distancing. That was a great way to stay fit when you couldn’t go to gyms or couldn’t meet with other people indoors.
How have you been keeping in touch with your coaches?
Our head coach Tim O’Connor preaches that he doesn’t really want to affect or try to change your game all that much. We got to be who we are as golfers for 16, 17, 18 years and how we did it – he’s an advocate for not really changing how you play. He was great with sending out occasional things about mental performance, things like that. Our strength and training coach Brook Bennie, he was fantastic in terms of sending out workout plans monthly or every few months that we could do at home or depending on where you live, if you have access to a gym or gym equipment. That was a really great way over the winter, and really during all of COVID, giving us great ways to stay fit and stay active even though we can’t be together.
What do you miss most about playing?
At the very start there was a little lack of the competition aspect. Obviously tournaments resumed later in the summer when everyone kind of figured out what was going on and how we could run and operate tournaments effectively. I think missing the competition this year with all university sports being cancelled has definitely missed that team competition. That was really unfortunate but I mean at the end of the day, safety first so I get that. I think just missing the competition, missing the team camaraderie, seeing everyone on a weekly and daily basis is something that I’m really looking forward to getting back to hopefully next year.
What memories will stick with you after you graduate?
I think once again going back to just being with the team. Whether it’s the road trips out to Ottawa to play those tournaments during the long weekends, just laughing on the team van, things like that. It’s just a really great team aspect that you get as a Guelph Gryphons golf member, really any Guelph Gryphons team member. I think that’s really fantastic, and I’ll remember that for the rest of my life.
Watch Matthew’s feature here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2llJY83UUtM&t=653s