In an incredible athletic feat, SCIS swimmer, Harold du Bois de Vroylande has qualified to swim at the national level in his home country of Belgium. He recently took part in a Long Course swimming meet outside of Shanghai. There, Harold swam two qualifying times that earned him a spot at the Long Course National Belgium Championship. 

In his home country of Belgium, he is currently ranked third fastest in his age range for 50 meters Freestyle swimming 28’95s as well as fourth fastest for completing a 50 meters Butterfly in 31’58s. Harold joins fellow SCIS athletes Sophie and Cato Vliegeberg, Natalie Sorensen and Nina van Lankveld in swimming national qualifier times in recent years. 

The SCIS athlete discusses how he reacted upon hearing the news and how the SCIS athletic program has helped him along the way.

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?

Hi, my name is Harold and I’m from Belgium. That’s where my parents are from, my mum comes from Brussels and my dad Antwerp, but I’m from Brussels.

Was China your first international experience?

No, when I was one my family was living in Nepal where we stayed for one year before moving to Beijing, China. I was in Beijing for six years before we moved here. 

JOINING THE SCIS SWIMMING PROGRAM

And how long have you been a part of the SCIS swimming program?

Ever since I joined SCIS I have been a part of the swimming program. I’ve been doing my better improvement with Coach Cheryl since fifth grade.

What about swimming in general, when did you first get into it?

I think I started taking swimming lessons when I was three or four years old. Just to know how to not drown. And then, later on, it started to get more serious, around the end of my fourth grade and the beginning of the fifth. 

You recently qualified to swim at a Nationally ranked championship back home. What was your reaction when you first heard of the news?

I was really shocked, to be honest. When I was younger, I never imagined that my swimming could be at a high level. And now that it is, I’m very thankful to everybody who has helped me to get to where I am today. Thanks for my teammates for pushing me, thanks to my coaches for bringing me up to this level, and of course my parents for supporting me. But yes, I was just shocked and in disbelief but it’s a cool place to be.

PUTTING IN THE WORK:

Getting to that level wasn’t easy I’m sure. How much work would you say that you put into this sport?

I put in a good amount of work to get to where I am. You can’t do anything without effort. It’s the thing that drives you and that you always will need in life to succeed. 

Well said! On a regular week, how often do you train?

So, because we’re not in peak season I’m training every day. From Monday to Thursday I have practice in the afternoon and Fridays it’s in the morning. But when we are in peak season, meaning when we have important competitions coming up, I’m swimming seven times a week. Also, during that time, I do land training on Monday mornings. 

What is “land” training?

It’s when we go to the gym to work out on dry land. So, we do strength training that focuses on certain muscles that will then help improve our swimming.

With all that time commitment, how do you manage to balance your school and personal life?

With my friends, we like to hang out, but after school normally we will find time with Keep It Together (KIT) Zone or just by ourselves. KIT Zone is a space for us to go and get help from teachers, on either Tuesdays or Thursdays, to get work done on and I sometimes go there when I need help. Other times we’ll start doing a little bit of homework before training and then finish whatever we have left once we get back home in the evening. 

GETTING HELP ALONG THE WAY:

Is there anyone in particular that you’d like to thank for getting you to where you are today?

Of course, Coach Cheryl. Without her, I wouldn’t be doing the sets that I’m doing and improving day by day. My friends have also been of huge help as we are always pushing each other to be the better person we know we can be. Lastly, if my parents weren’t there waking up at five in the morning to help me get ready for training, I definitely wouldn’t be where I am today!

And what about SCIS?

Some teachers understand that it is tough to get everything done, but they’re still pushing me to finish all my school work even though I’m doing all this extra work outside of school hours. Of course, the most important is my studies and swimming comes second, even if you love it. 

“Studies come first after that remember to always give 100% to everything that you start.” 

When the going gets tough, what motivates you to keep going?

I really like when I achieve something. For example, whenever I get a good time or whenever I get any sort of medals then I would be very happy and try and go for another one of those. I also tell myself that I am extremely lucky. I get to come after school and swim but not a lot of other people do and get to do the thing I love. That really helps drive me.

Based on your experiences so far, do you have any advice you’d like to share with other SCIS students?

Studies come first after that remember to always give 100% to everything that you start. You’ll feel satisfied with the results.

Well done Harold and keep up the hard work!

 

SCIS. Home of the Dragons.