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Case Studies

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Collection of case studies of school students who succeeded in balancing school career with the passion for sport.

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Name of the student:
Filippo Megli


Name of the School:
Istituto Salesiano dell'Immacolata
School Typology:
Liceo Scientifico – Scientific High School
Via del Ghirlandaio, 40 Firenze
Web site:
[email protected]


The Context:
My passion for swimming was born when I was a child, when my father used to take me to the pool to play in the water. Then, little by little, my passion has grown for two main reasons:
the first was that in the water I felt at peace with myself, the second was that I started to collect the first, little successes at a pre-competitive level.
I've always been supported by my family, my father in particular.
It's been my family which has allowed me to reach my goals. It has been thanks to its sacrifices, to the many short and long journeys to reach the pool, that I have obtained such results.
It has also been the sports club's merit which has allowed me to stand out : I' ve always been invited to go on, not to surrender.
Hopefully, our school has very good sport equipment: it has a gym and a football field, which is not very common.
Even the teaching of Physical Education at school has always been very varied and adequate.
I think that nowadays in Italy young people are not really supported to practice sport activities, unless they have very supportive families. In addition, most guys are inclined to practice football, as it's the most popular sport.
There are a lot of, maybe too many, boys and girls who have never praticed any sport.
Balancing Sport and Education:
It's not easy at all to balance sport and school, especially at very high competitive levels. The main problem is managing time: sport occupies a long time and, the time which remains, is usually devoted to studying. The balance is reached thanks to many sacrifices.
As far as I am concerned, during my secondary school years, I haven't been able to do much more than sport and school.
A strong resolution is necessary.
Every day I spend between two hours and a half and three hours and a half on sport.
I usually spend from two to four hours on studying, but it depends on the amount of homework.
My successes started when I won the regional championship, then I qualified for the national youth championship, later I qualified for the Italian absolute championship.
This year I've won my first youth championship in the 400 m front crawl, after many bronze and silver medals of the previous years.
I've been called in the national team to take part in my first European Olympic Games in Baku.
I competed in my specific field, 200 m front crawl and I finished fifth.
I also took part in the world youth swimming championship in Singapore, where I finished eleventh.
As far as school career is concerned, in general terms, I can say that I've lived very good and very bad times: when you play a sport at very high levels it's difficult to have very good results at any time. Probably my school performances would have been better without sport activity, but I'm not completely sure. The balance between school/sport obliges me to keep to fixed timetables, which I'm forced to respect. Whenever I have too free time I'm inclined to postpone my school duties, or to skip them completely. Fixed timetables allow me to study more regularly.
It's difficult to think about a way to successfully balance school/sport, especially here in Italy, where school always comes first. Some friends of mine had to give up sport, or they had to find an easier type of school so that they could continue their sport activity. Teachers should be more understanding and sympathetic.
My suggestion to achieve a better balance between school career and sport activity is that here in Italy we should learn something from the USA, where colleges with good sport infrastructures and equipment welcome those students who want to study and practice sport at competitive levels.
Another suggestion could be that of giving more relevance to sport, even through a proper advertising.
Future Perspectives:
I don't know exactly what I'm going to do when I finish school, but I have some ideas.
One of them is to go to the USA to study and swim, even if this decision requires a great effort. Otherwise, I could go to university here in italy, but, above all, I hope I can continue to swim as I've done up to now, even improving my results.

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This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This web site reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.