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Different focus for South African swim star Schoeman

by ZwemZa on October 20th, 2016
MENTOR: Former Olympic gold medallist and world champion Roland Schoeman (above, left), conducting a swim clinic at the Hougang Swimming Complex yesterday.

MENTOR: Former Olympic gold medallist and world champion Roland Schoeman (above, left), conducting a swim clinic at the Hougang Swimming Complex yesterday.

He was part of the team that won the 4x100m freestyle relay at the Athens 2004 Olympics, the first time South African male swimmers captured gold at the Games.

While his younger teammates like Chad le Clos and Cameron van der Burgh begin to chart their path towards Tokyo 2020, Roland Schoeman is unclear if he will work towards a fifth Olympics.

The 36-year-old, who will be competing in the Singapore leg of the Fina/airweave Swimming World Cup 2016 presented by Yakult tomorrow and on Saturday, will take two years off swimming, starting in 2017, possibly to enrol in studies to become a chiropractor.

“I have a scholarship that I can take up either at the beginning or middle of next year, and I am seriously considering it,” said the former world champion, after a clinic with about 40 swimmers from Swimdolphia Aquatic and SportCares yesterday at the Hougang Swimming Complex.

“I am at that point in my career where I have been training so hard for so long that it’s going to be nice to take a step back.

“I still want to stay fit, in shape and conditioned. I don’t want to stay away from swimming completely.

“Look at a guy like (35-year-old Olympic champion) Anthony Ervin – he took a long time away from the sport, and he still came back and was still successful.”

While there is speculation that le Clos might move to the United States to train, following his recent split with long-time coach Graham Hill, Schoeman believes the former Olympic champion will remain in South Africa.

Talking of his countryman, Schoeman said: “I think now is as good a time as any for Chad, but I don’t necessarily believe he will go to America.

“He is a very family-oriented guy and my understanding is that he will probably move to Cape Town and have his family based there as well.”

Asked if he had spoken to le Clos about his 100m butterfly final loss to Singapore’s Joseph Schooling at the Rio Olympics in August, Schoeman half-joked: “No, no, I think that’s a very, very sore subject (for Chad).

“But I think Chad knows that even if he had swum at his very best, he wasn’t going to beat Joseph.

“That is testament of who Joseph is and the swimming he has done.”

As for Schoeman, winning races is no longer his sole focus.

“The last time I swam the World Cup was in 2014, and I missed the opportunity last year as I was focused so much on the Olympics,” said the freestyle and butterfly sprinter, who missed out on making a fifth Olympics this year. “All of a sudden, you realise that there’s more to life than just winning a gold medal.

“Now I appreciate the fact that there’s more than just the racing – there’s the interaction, the building of friendships and contacts and the sight-seeing… hopefully, I can impart some knowledge and wisdom, and motivate swimmers today not to take things for granted.”

Lim Sey Heng

From → African News

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