Alice Mathieu, Year 5, wins four gold medals and a cup

In order to lead a well-balanced life now and in the future, we young people need to engage in physical activities not just to stay healthier but also to develop more skills. Many students who partake in extra-curricular activities alongside school have reaped positive results. Not only do they enjoy their childhood right now engaging in such exciting activities and building the skills that will later set them up for fulfilling adult lives, but they also perform better academically. One very good example of such a student is Alice Mathieu, a talented Year 5 student of EIS. Alice is a 9-year-old aspiring Olympic swimmer and brilliant student that I had the opportunity to interview on Thursday 23rd February about her latest win in a swimming competition called Les Futurs Champions at l’Université d’Abomey-Calavi’s public pool.

Marjory Vodonou, Year 9

Marjory: When did you start swimming?
Alice: I started swimming in Belgium since my mother wanted me to for safety as it is a basic skill for survival. However, when I came to Benin I remember my coach taking me to my very first swimming competition which ignited my passion for swimming and competing.

Marjory: How did you feel about the competition?
Alice: I was more excited than worried considering I already knew what to expect as I am used to it.

Marjory: How did you feel before the competition?
Alice: Before the competition, I felt nervous but as this isn’t my first swimming competition, I am used to it, therefore, I was less tense.

Marjory: Prior to your turn, while waiting in line, what was going through your head and what were you doing?
Alice: I was beginning to feel tense as the tension was increasing but in the meantime, I decided to stretch to stop stressing and get ready for my very first lap.

Marjory: What was your reaction to winning?
Alice: When I won, I was proud of myself however I wasn’t surprised considering I had been training consistently for a long time.

Marjory: Speaking of training, how have you been training in swimming?
Alice: I have been swimming and training for two and a half years but overall I swim pretty often.

Marjory: As a 9-year-old please, tell us about who you competed against. Was the idea intimidating?
Alice: I competed for front crawl with 8-9-year-olds but back crawl with older children 10-12 years olds but I wasn’t really scared nor intimidated.

Marjory: Furthermore, what do you see yourself doing or trying to achieve in swimming?
Alice: I plan on continuing swimming and training hard towards my dream of one day competing in the Olympic games. Till then, I will keep attempting more competitions with the mindset and challenging my own self and limits.

Marjory: Do have anything to say to young people like you who share your dream of eventually improving their swimming skills and participating in competitions such as these?
Alice: I believe everyone that wants to start swimming should go for it and keep going even if it seems hard at times.

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