"Being a top-level athlete means agreeing to repeat the same movement over and over again": Louise Lefebvre, bipalm swimmer

Tales of sport: a series of testimonies in which EDHEC students – high-level athletes or those engaged in competitive sport – share their passion for their respective sports. They also tell us how their sports activity combines with their studies.

Reading time :
3 May 2024

Louise Lefebvre is a final-year student at EDHEC International BBA Online. She has been taking part in swimming competitions since the age of 7 and holds the title of world champion in the open water 1km double sculls*. In this interview, she talks about her daily life as a top-level athlete, between physical preparation and thinking about her professional future.  


"A little over a year ago, I started practising the crawl with fins, and I quickly achieved good results. Last year, for example, I won the world champion title in the 1 km two-fin open water event in Belgrade. Before that, for 15 years, I was a competitive classical swimmer. I wanted a change in my sport. 

During competitions, I'm focused on a single objective: achieving the best time and winning the event. When I'm in that frame of mind, I forget about the pain associated with the physical effort and concentrate solely on synchronising my movements."


Louise Lefebvre divides her time between training at the Antibes club and her studies:


"My day is dedicated to sport and my studies. I train in the morning and at the end of the day, and in between I study. Maintaining a regular training rhythm is the only way to achieve top scores in competitions. I was also enrolled at the CNED from the fourth year up to the final year. Distance learning enabled me to reconcile practising a high-level sport with continuing my studies. 

At the EDHEC International BBA Online, we have a wide choice of subjects, including a course on sports psychology. I'm specialising in finance; in the future, I'd like to work in sustainable finance or corporate social responsibility (CSR). It's important for me to project myself into a career, because my work as a top-level sportswoman will come to an end one day."


Over time, Louise Lefebvre has also come to terms with the repetitive nature of her training:


"Being a top-level athlete means accepting that you have to do the same movement over and over again. There's a kind of monotony that can set in during the periods leading up to competitions; every day is a bit the same. Discipline and rigour, as well as being surrounded by like-minded people, allow you to accept this situation and stay focused on preparing for the next competition. I'm lucky enough to work alongside top-level sportswomen whose careers inspire me. Alice Modolo, vice world champion in apnea in 2024, is one of them. She descends up to 100 metres in the sea with flippers. What a performance!"

*Open water: swimming in the sea, lake or river, generally over long distances.


Discover the other testimonies in the "Tales of Sport" series:

Learning to extend your limits: Arthur Morel, Krav Maga world champion
Giving the best of yourself: Éva Bohnenstengel, French parasport 1,500 metres indoor champion
High-altitude sensations: Chiara Pogneaux, French slalom champion
Committed to a sport and a student association: Alexandre Marchegay, Director of the Raid EDHEC trail run
Harnessing the experience of others: Océane Sercien-Ugolin, international handballer
Developing a taste for effort: Philémon Rouault, ice hockey player



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