PHUKET: Struggling with time management? Not enough space in your weekly agenda for all that’s on your “to do” list? Tell that to these kids. Not only do they study hard but practice swimming twice a day, five days a week, aiming at the highest Olympic goals. Their solution for lack of time? Do more.
“I feel that swimming actually helps with my learning a lot, it reduces stress and helps me with time management,” says Aleya Toh, a young swimmer who moved to Phuket from Singapore a few months ago.
“In Singapore, in March last year, I was facing a lot of trouble. I found it really hard to find balance between my studies, my school and my swimming, which wasn’t too good as well.
“Learning and training at BISP [British International School Phuket] helps me with that,” she adds.
Hendrik Faber, a young Dutch athlete who’s also a beneficiary of BISP swimming scholarship, confirms Aleya’s comments, “enrolling with BISP High Performance Swim Academy allowed me to study more because it’s a boarding school. Whereas when I lived in Malaysia, I would often slack off.
“I guess it’s good for me to be in a more controlled environment. And I swim a lot more here during our morning and afternoon session.”
The swimming scholarship at BISP is currently in its first year of inception, and has already seen 12 Youth Olympic Games qualifying standards met within the first three months of training. The BISP HPT (High Performance Team) Swim Academy combines academic excellence with high performance swimming by offering a comprehensive package of boarding, tuition and swimming, to enable long term development.
“This place is very convenient because swimming and everything is within the school wheres in Singapore swimming and school were separate,” explains Aleya.
In BISP all the facilities are in place for students to be able to find balance between their studies and training – eight lane 50m pool and eight lane 25m pool, functional dry land training area attached to the pool for instant access, quality boarding house accommodation and of course a fully comprehensive primary and secondary school.
Learning and training in such environment allow the students to focus on their goals, which in case of Hendrik and Aleya are very ambitious, “I would like to represent the Netherlands in the Olympics for either triathlon or swimming. And the facilities here and healthy environment for training at BIS surely helps.”
“I hope to qualify for Sea Games in Singapore next year and other major meets, maybe the Olympics,” adds Toh.
With the help of, Simon Jones, BISP’s High Performance Team Coach, who has a track record of placing a swimmer on a national swim team every year in his 14 year coaching career, achieving these goals is a lot more likely. But not without sacrifice.
“I have a love/hate relationship with swimming. Sometimes I just want to take a break because it’s really tiring, but than I still want to come back everyday and train.” explains Hendrik.
Why? Because he has his eyes on the goal, “I always wanted to go to the Olympics and this goal is not complete.”
— Maciek Klimowicz
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