Helen Liu ’22
Bella Shroff ’21 competes for girls’ varsity swimming and is one of the strongest athletes on the team. Among other accomplishments, Shroff has qualified for several Singaporean national meets in addition to the FINA World Cup. She entered Lawrenceville as a new Fourth Former, and this winter is her first season representing Big Red swimming.
Helen Liu: When did you begin swimming? What motivated you to start this sport?
Bella Shroff: I started swimming in elementary school when I was seven, and the reason I picked swimming when I was younger was because I didn't want to play any of the other sports. There was running involved and I didn't like [that] at the time. Swimming, on the other hand, was fun because you got to be in the pool and play with your friends.
HL: How does the Lawrenceville team environment compare to that of your team in Singapore?
BS: The biggest difference is not being able to swim year-round. My school team was also [my] club team, and we got to swim throughout the year, which was really beneficial to improvement. Comparing [the U.S.] to Singapore in general, Singapore is a really small country, so at every meet, you saw the same people from different schools. Swimming at Singapore Nationals sounds really cool, but, again, since the country’s so small, it's not that hard to qualify for. You’ll go and see the Singapore national team there along with a bunch of eighth graders.
HL: Has it been challenging adjusting to the Lawreceville team, especially as a new junior?
BS: At first it was a little challenging because the training here is a little bit different. Having to go to a lift once a week, having a female head coach instead of a male head coach, and sometimes swimming separated by gender were all things I had to learn how to adjust to. It was also difficult to transition because while I knew some of the girls on the swim team, I wasn’t really friends with all of them, and everyone on the swim team is really close.
HL: You swim competitively outside of school as well. How do you juggle swimming both commitments?
BS: There isn't really any time after Lawrenceville swim practice to go to another practice and then get my homework done all in one night. I try to go to practice with my club team on Sundays and any other day that school practice is canceled. [My club team] definitely creates a positive atmosphere I want to be part of, but I just don’t have the time.
HL: What goals do you have for yourself and the team this season?
BS:I want to work back up to where I was at this time last year, because I got out of shape after not swimming for the first season during fall. After that, I aim to break my records and personal bests. For the team, I just hope that everyone improves or at least feels better about their current athletic shape.
HL: What advice would you give to someone interested in joining Big Red swimming and diving?
BS: If you have not swam before, I would recommend trying to get into some sort of cardiovascular shape, whether that be running, swimming, or biking. If you can get into the pool over the summer for a couple times a week or do morning swims before the school day starts, that would be really good to build a base. If you need some advice or guidance, you can always reach out to Coach [Stephanie] Harrison or anyone on the team.
For additional information, please contact Lisa M. Gillard Hanson, director of Public Relations, at email@example.com.