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Swimming for Vietnam - Jeremie Luong

The International Baccalaureate at British International School, HCMC, is widely recognised as academically rigorous and personally demanding. It is designed to challenge our students, and reward them with attributes that will prepare them for a future full of opportunity. However, studying six subjects, completing an Extended Essay and 150 hours of creativity, activity, and service, all whilst reflecting on the Theory of Knowledge, it is hard to imagine that they have time for much else.

  • Jeremie Luong 2017 National 25m pool Jeremie with 2 Olympian (800x600)

Jeremie Luong is just coming to the end of the first year of the his two year IB Diploma course. No easy feat. But despite his outstanding commitment to his everyday studies he has also achieved a great deal outside of school too.

Jeremie is the eldest of three brothers at BIS HCMC who love to swim, meaning that swimming has had to become part of the family routine!

Mr Luong, Jeremie’s father, said: “The main change in our life is our schedule that is built around swimming. Fortunately our 3 kids Jeremie, Alois and Matheo all feel like fish in water which make our choices more simple. Since Jeremie and Alois swim 6 days a week and twice on Saturday, the main part of Sunday is spent doing their homework in order to cope well with the BIS HCMC program. We take the numerous competitions that they compete in across Vietnam and Southeast Asia as opportunities to travel together. In fact swimming has allowed us to travel more than we did before.”

He went on to say that, “beyond the cultures of each country we have discovered that swimming is a big family without borders, no matter where you come from or where you go if you are a swimmer you're more than welcome.”

Jeremie is a National level swimmer, so he is now competing at a very high standard. In recent months he won three medals at the 25m pool Vietnam National Swimming Championships and five at the National Age Group Swimming Championships.

So we had to find out just how he does it!

How often do you train? Have you had to make unusual changes to your diet or lifestyle to improve?

I usually train 7 times a week, once everyday from Monday to Friday after school, and twice on Saturday (mornings and afternoons). Regarding my diet, I have to eat around 5500 calories (compared to 2500 calories for a normal person). Due to the fact I need so much calories and protein, I had to split my 3 meals into 5 meals to allow my body to assimilate all the proteins in the meal and aid the digestion of food. Moreover, I usually sleep relatively early (around 10pm to 10:30pm) to optimize my physical and mental condition. Being a competitive swimmer taking a very challenging course at school has taught me a lot about time management and still does. Everyone knows the struggle of being able to cope with the requirements of the IB. Now imagine having to do so whilst spending nearly 20 hours a week training. It is very challenging and takes a lot of self-determination.

How do you feel when you step onto the blocks at the start of a National Race?

It’s actually quite a special and unique feeling I get during the 10 minutes leading up to a race. It’s a mix of emotion between apprehension and excitement. Of course, stress is a big factor, but over time I managed to channel this stress into positive energy. I start this sort of routine/ritual that I do before every race. I slap my body, hit the blocks, clap my hands but most importantly prepare myself physically and mentally by doing breathing exercises and visualizing my race. This allows me to enter in full concentration. As a result, once I am on the blocks, my mind is empty and all my attention is brought to listening for start signal. This feeling I get before a National or International race is unique but also applies to every single race I do. No matter what competition I am doing, there’s always that voice in my head telling me to make that race a special and memorable one for myself. This brings me onto the most important part of swimming in my opinion, enjoyment. It is the key to success in swimming or anything you do.

Do you have any idols in or out of the pool? People who inspire you?

To be honest, I don’t really have an idol I aspire to become. Nevertheless, there are a lot of people who inspire me. Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian, is regarded as the most dominant swimmer ever. The main reason he inspires me is his ability to bounce back from setbacks and come back even stronger. He is an inspiration to all swimmers through his actions and work ethic.

Many other people are extremely important to me. My family as it allows me to have these moments of sharing as well as have crucial support in everything I do. My friends for making everyday a special and unique day. My coaches for always supporting in a positive way and helping me be the best I can. My teachers for being extremely supportive at school, especially when I'm absent for a competition. There are many more people who allow me to move forward in my life.

What do you like to do outside of swimming?

There are a lot of things I enjoy doing outside of swimming. Like any other students of my age I enjoy going out and spending some time with my friends or my family. I love going to events such as concerts or going to the cinema or restaurant with my friends if it doesn’t clash with my training. Moreover, ever since I did this community project 2 years ago with orphans from Kontum, I really enjoy helping out others as much as I can. This year, I have set up a new community project in cooperation with an NGO to collect toothpastes at our schools and give them to poor families together with other items such as blankets, rice and toothbrushes after receiving medical checks from doctors coming from the US. I also love traveling to other countries to experience new cultures and witness new landscapes.

What are your short, medium and long term goals?

My short term goals are to continue and enjoy swimming at a competitive level and improve whilst achieving the best possible results academically. My medium term goals would be to continue swimming at the best university possible and continue to represent my team here back in Vietnam. My ultimate goal would be to get selected to the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina. My long term goals may sound cheesy but like anyone would be to find a job I love and continue doing sports (maybe triathlon).

When/what is your next race?

I had the very anticipated ISHCMC Invitational Swimming meet, where International schools from all over Vietnam come together to compete in a very competitive yet warm atmosphere. This competition allowed my friends and I to have fun and compete against our main rivals ISHCMC and obtain the most effective team.

I just had the Vietnam Age Group National Swimming Championships in Quang Binh. This competition was an extremely challenging one regrouping all the best swimmers from all over Vietnam. I am very happy with my results of 3 golds and 2 bronzes but more importantly because I improved most of my times and because my team (HCM city) won overall.

The next competition I have is the Ho Chi Minh City Age Group Swimming Championships in June. I will then have the SEA (Southeast Asian) School Games in Singapore coming in July, which I am very excited about.

A summary of Jeremie’s achievements in the pool this year:

 

- Oct 2016:   BIS Invitational (7 gold medals out of 7 races - 15 & over Boys Overall Champion)

- Oct 2016:   50m pool Vietnam National Swimming Championships - Hanoi

- Nov 2016:  UNIS Invitational (7 gold medals out of 7 races - 15 & over Boys Overall Champion)

- Dec 2016:  Bangkok Feeding Frenzy (11 gold medals and a silver medal out of 12 races - 15 & over Boys Overall Champion)

- Mar 2017:  25m pool Vietnam National Swimming Championships (2 gold and 1 silver medal) - Hue

- May 2017:  ISHCMC annual meet (7 gold medals out of 7 races - 15 & over Boys Overall Champion)

- May 2017:  National Age Group Swimming Championships (3 golds and 2 bronzes) -  Dong Hoi, Quang Binh

Still to come…

 

- Jun 2017:   Ho Chi Minh City Age Group Swimming Championships

- Jul 2017:    SEA (Southeast Asian) School Games - Singapore

Whilst the school isn’t involved directly in his training, our PE Department are particularly supportive and encouraging of Jeremie’s ambition in and out of the pool, and had this to say about him: “Jeremie is a fantastic individual, hardworking, and a genuinely nice person. He is an excellent role model for our younger students.” - Ms Laura Gallagher, PE Teacher

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