Talented young swimmer and Discovery College student, Eloise Raper, speaks to Mawgan Batt about early morning training sessions, winning medals and tackling adventure races.
How long have you been swimming for?
I started swimming when I was three and started swim training when I was seven years old.
How much training is involved? Is it hard to combine with school and social commitments?
I train with the competitive squad of Aquagym in Tung Chung twice a week from 5.45am to 7.30am. I am also about to start swim training for my school for a competition in May so I will increase my training to three times a week.
Are you also involved in other sports?
I play U13 netball for our school sports team, I have also played in basketball, rugby and football tournaments. I dance twice a week at Future Stars Dance Academy and in my free time I like to surf and skateboard. Last year I started competing in open water swim challenges and Aquathons in Hong Kong and I competed in the Team Fear 2015 adventure race, winning first place with our mixed under 10 team.
What is it that you love about swimming?
I find training tough, but when I finish, I feel proud of myself because I am the youngest in the squad. Every swim training session I usually swim somewhere between 1,000m and 3,000m.
Any special memories so far?
I participated in my first swimming competition at the age of five and won four medals – I felt really proud of myself and decided to join the swim club in Discovery Bay. At the club championships in 2014, when I was eight years old, I won the age eight overall championship. I was also awarded a trophy for the open point score champion. Last year, I won four gold medals and was awarded the age nine years girls trophy and tied in top place with my older sister for point score champion.
Do you have any tips for budding young swimmers?
My coach always tells me to never give up, stay committed and to try hard.
Hong Kong Island Stingrays Swim Club:
Offers six levels of competitive swimming training and one non-competitive group: Hong Kong International School Swimming Pool, 1 Redhill Road, Tai Tam, www.hkstingrays.com
Harry Wright: Programmes for swimmers that are keen to get competitive experience. Sessions held at the SCAA in Causeway Bay, West Island School in Pok Fu Lam and Discovery Bay, www.harrywright.com.hk
Aquagym: Based in Tung Chung, the club offers junior and elite squad swimming training in addition to cycling and running: Tung Chung Swimming Pool, 5 Tat Tung Road, www.aquagym.com.hk