Interview by Cheryl Philp, Aquatics Coordinator at SCIS Hongqiao.
Student-athlete, Harold du Bois de Vroylande, has accomplished a lot for someone who started eighth grade this year. Competing in the Long Course National Belgium Championship over the summer, Harold swam a 1:08.06 100-meter butterfly swim, earning him third place in the final!
The SCIS swimmer talks us through the preparation and his mindset leading up to the championship, what it means to be a medalist for his home country, and his future looking ahead.
Congratulations on your successes at the Belgian Nationals this summer, can you talk us through the final process of preparing for the meet?
Looking back, my final sessions at SCIS were pretty relaxed compared to normal sessions. We kept it easy so that my muscles wouldn’t be too sore or hurt before the meet. But the long training period leading up to the last few weeks were quite tough so that I could build muscle fast and improve my speed. I had extra training sessions outside of the water, once every two days, which helped my endurance and improve my flexibility. Lastly, I also went for a two-week camp in Italy just to prepare right before my swimming competition.
Can you describe your mindset and thoughts going into the meet?
Going into the meet I wasn’t expecting anything too big. This was the first competition of this size and also the first time competing back home, so of course, I wanted to try my best and give it my all. In the end, I was fast enough to earn a spot on the podium.
Which races did you qualify for?
I qualified for the 50-meter freestyle, 100-meter freestyle, 100-meter butterfly, and the 100-meter breaststroke.
Out of those four, which did you feel that you were performing well within?
I think my 100-meter butterfly was certainly my best race. I managed to get a bronze medal at the national level, which is the biggest achievement for me, and I hope to use this as something to help me get better in the future.
Looking back, can you tell us what was going through your mind going into that 100-meter butterfly?
I’d say my best stroke is probably butterfly so I kept telling myself “this is probably one of the races you should be having under control”. So, all I tried to do is go in strong and not give up, even though it’s one of the most challenging and tiring strokes to do. I decided to go in with the mindset of trying my best and proving myself in the pool.
How does it feel to be a medalist for your country?
I still can’t really believe it. It feels really good to be able to tell people, yeah, I’m a medalist for my country. It’s something I wouldn’t have thought would be possible, especially not back in fifth grade. To be a national medalist in eighth grade is a really a dream! Of course, this wouldn’t have been possible without the help of my coaches, SCIS, and my mum and dad for letting wake up at four in the morning for practice!
What are your goals going into this 2019-2020?
In the academic year of 2019-2020, I’d like to be as good inside the pool as I am outside of it. For me, that means being as good in academics as I am in swimming. Balancing both of these two things will be my priority so that I can be getting on the honor roll or the principal’s honor roll if I work hard enough.
Those are fantastic goals! Any last comments and thoughts?
I’m happy to say that I’ve qualified for this year’s national championship. I qualified by a few seconds and in almost all of my races, so I should be back in the competition stage in 2020!