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Academic Career Goes Swimmingly for this Grad

From: University Currents
Date: June 9, 2000
Story by: Michelle Howard
Archive: Campus News

UC's Commencement on June 9 will be the first big day in what promises to be a string of big days in Jan Vitazka's life this summer.

Vitazka is to receive his master's of business administration (MBA) in information systems from the College of Business Administration. In attendance for the ceremony will be Vitazka's father Juraj, who is traveling from the family's home in Olomouc, Czech Republic. It is the first visit to the United States by any family member in the five years that Vitazka has been at UC.

Three days after Commencement, Vitazka heads back home to his native country to begin training for a spot on the Czech Republic swim team that will compete in the Sydney Olympics in September.

Vitazka is a specialist in the individual medley (IM) and is currently ranked No. 20 in the world in the 200-meter IM. He swam both the 200 and 400 IM for the UC swim team from 1997-99, earning All-American honors six times and finishing as high as fourth nationally in the 200 IM at the 1998 NCAA Championships.

With school out of the way, he will begin an intensive training period to prepare for the Olympics. "I'm actually looking forward to it, because it will be easier," Vitazka says. "I haven't had a vacation or break in almost two years." Vitazka completed his undergraduate degree and his collegiate swimming eligibility last June. Since then, he has continued training with UC's swimmers and swim coach Monty Hopkins, while also enduring the rigorous curriculum of UC's one-year MBA program. "The MBA program was intense," says Vitazka. "Basically, I had no free time. I had to skip several meets this year. I skipped the World Championships in Athens, Greece, so I had to sacrifice some of my swimming."

Vitazka needs to meet the Olympic qualifying standard to be eligible to go to Sydney. He missed it by .02 of a second earlier this year at the U.S. Nationals. He'll have two more shots at it this summer, and he doesn't anticipate it will be a problem.

"I hope to place in the top eight in the Olympics (in the 200 IM)," Vitazka says. "That would put me in the finals, which is my goal. The difference between No. 20 in the world and No. 8 is not much less than a second."

Vitazka anticipates returning to the United States after the Olympics to begin his business career.


 
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