Heading into the men’s golf tournament at the Summer Universiade in Gwangju, South Korea this week, it’s hard to imagine anyone in the field will be more prepared than Aaron Pauls.
The University of the Fraser Valley Cascades standout has momentum on his side following a stellar month of tournament play, highlighted by a first-place finish in the amateur division at a Vancouver Golf Tour event, and a third-place result at the Canadian University/College Championship.
The latter performance clinched Pauls’ spot on Canada’s three-man Universiade team, which also features Russell Bowie of Queen’s University and the University of Waterloo’s Dylan Cave.
In a deep international field, strong preliminary results won’t be terribly unique, but it’s unlikely that any of Pauls’s competitors in South Korea can boast the same type of holistic preparation that his recent academic pursuits have afforded him.
The 24-year-old completed the coursework for his UFV kinesiology undergrad degree in December, earning CCAA Academic All-Canadian honours in the process, and subsequently embarked on graduate studies at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in January.
He’s working towards a Masters in kinesiology with a focus on motor learning, and much of his time is spent helping his advisor conduct research to determine the optimal level of physiological arousal for someone to learn. He’s literally making a career out of effective, efficient preparation.
“The research is about brain and body function and how can I improve it,” explained Pauls, who helped the Cascades men’s golf team to four PacWest titles and four podium finishes at CCAA nationals, including a gold medal in 2013. “This is more in a classroom setting than in sports, but it applies to sports as well. I’ve learned an absolute ton of information on mindset and how I can improve what I do (on the golf course).”
The golf tournament runs Wednesday through Saturday, and marks a milestone of sorts for Pauls – it’s his last competition as a university athlete.