ENSTA Bretagne : Lola, sportive de haut niveau lors du Tour Voile 2019
© Helvetia by Normandy Elite Team

Lola: engineering student and competitive sailor

Student Life
Lola started sailing when she was 10 years old and has held a torch for the sport ever since. In September 2018, she began her engineering studies at ENSTA Bretagne with competitive athlete status.

Could you tell us about your sailing career before you enrolled at ENSTA Bretagne?

I started sailing Optimists at the Aber Wrac’h sailing center when I was 10. From there, I moved on to Pôle France Voile in Brest where I spent 3 years sailing 420 junior-class dinghies and another 3 years sailing 470 Olympic-class dinghies.

The years I spent at Pôle France Voile in Brest helped me to improve and to push my technical, physical and mental limits.

What have you been up to since starting school in September 2018?

Last October, I joined the women’s Normandy Elite Team, sailing Diam 24s. These are racing trimarans used for the Tour de France à la Voile sailing competition. They have three hulls each 24 feet, or 7 m, long. Our 6-woman team is training for this race, which will take place in July 2019. The first stage is at Dunkerque, and we'll go all the way to Nice. We'll be competing in Nautical Stadium and Coastal Raid courses all along the French coastline. 

I also practice women’s Match Racing, a specific style of regatta in which two competitors go head-to-head. We just got back from a competition in Sweden, where we qualified for the world championships!

How do you combine your competitive athletic activity with engineering studies?

Thanks to my competitive athlete status, I was able to begin my studies at ENSTA Bretagne with a personalized program while pursuing 2nd-year Math and Physics degrees. I followed the same academic path as Oël Pouliquen.

By making it possible for me to take time off school for competitions and training sessions, ENSTA enables me to succeed both in my studies and my athletic activity. Also, the school gives me the option of completing my engineering degree in 4 or 5 years instead of 3.

By extending my study program I can free up time for daily training (25 hours a week), and also have less work to catch up on when I've been away for a competition or training session.  

How do you organize your weekly schedule?

My weeks are split in half. I go to class on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and I train on the water (mostly in Le Havre or Brest) from Thursday to Sunday. The Diam 24 is a powerful boat, so I have to do physical training: I do 2 weight-training sessions and 3 cardio sessions (swimming, cycling or running) every week. 

What are your goals for this sailing season?

My goals this year are to reach the top 15 when we participate in the Tour de France à la Voile for the first time in July. In Match Racing, our goal is to win the world championship in Sweden this August!