GIS Swim Champ
Aliyy Eloraby, a Grade 9 student at GEMS International School – Al Khail, competed in the Egyptian National Swimming Championships in April 2019. He came away with a stunning five gold medals in the under 15s category, notching up victories in the 50m, 100m and 200m butterfly, as well as the 200m freestyle and the 200m individual medley races.
Aliyy started swimming when he was four years old, but he attributes a change in coaches five years ago to his increasing interest in the sport that, in turn, led him to take part in serious competitive events.
Balancing swimming with academics
While Aliyy represents GIS at tournaments such as the GEMS Cup, his main source of swimming training comes from a club outside school. However, he is quick to point out the contribution of his teachers in helping him balance his dedication to his sport with his education.
“My teachers are understanding of the fact that my swimming may reduce the time I have to complete certain assignments, so they are more lenient when it comes to extensions for deadlines,” says Aliyy. “The school has also awarded me a scholarship, which really boosted my morale and encouraged me to push myself all the time.”
A dedicated student, Aliyy has no intention of letting his training commitments keep him from achieving great academic results.
Success down to dedicated effort
Monday is the most tiring day of the week, according to Aliyy, and it’s not hard to see why. “I wake up at 4.45am, and after a quick breakfast I head to my morning training, which goes from 5.30 to 7am. I then head to school and do homework or study for assessments for about 45 minutes until school starts.”
After school, Aliyy’s manic Monday continues with him going straight to the gym from 4.10 to 5.10pm, followed by another swimming session between 5.30 and 7.30pm. Only then does the young champion return home, where he eats dinner, studies for a bit and then heads to bed.
“I am very focused on my education and I am always trying to do my best. I have set myself very high goals for my grades this year, especially for my core subjects.”
For Aliyy, competition is what makes all the hard work worthwhile. “I always feel nervous going into competitions, especially right before my races,” he says. “But once I’m up on the blocks the nervousness is replaced by a feeling of excitement, especially if I know that I’ve done my best to prepare for the race. It is an incredible feeling when I win a race, it makes me proud of myself and what I have accomplished. But what I love most is the pride my family takes in my victories.”