Roland Schoeman (1980 - )
The Order of Ikhamanga in
Profile of Roland Schoeman
Roland Schoeman was born on 7 March 1980 in Pretoria. He attended Willow Ridge High School, where his first love was cricket. Although an asthmatic, at the age of 13 he developed an interest in swimming.
Having enrolled at the University of Arizona in the United States of America (USA) to benefit from its swimming facilities, Schoeman broke several National Collegiate Athletic Association records during his freshman and junior years.
He shot to national and international stardom after winning a gold medal at the Athens Olympics as part of the South African 4x100 m freestyle relay team. Among his other achievements are: 100 m freestyle silver medalist and 50 m freestyle bronze medalist at the 2004 Olympics; 50 m butterfly silver medallist and 50 m freestyle gold medalist at the Commonwealth Games; 50 m freestyle bronze medalist at the World Swimming Championships; 100 m butterfly bronze medalist at the All African Swimming Championships and 100 m freestyle silver medalist and 50 m freestyle gold medalist at the Federation Internationale de Natation Amateur (Fina) Championships (2005).
Schoeman recorded new world records in the 100 m individual medley and 100 m freestyle. He holds the short- and longcourse records for the 50 m freestyle and long-course record for the 100 m freestyle in the Commonwealth Games as well as the All African Swimming Championships long-course records for the 50 m and 100 m. He is ranked all-time number two for the 50 m freestyle event.
Impressed by his remarkable swimming abilities, the State of Qatar made him a multi-million dollar a year offer to take up its citizenship to represent them at Olympic competitions. Patriotic to the end, Schoeman refused.
Roland Schoeman, who is fondly called 'the rocket', has displayed a rare determination to overcome obstacles and a talent to succeed in competitive swimming. His current achievements will ensure him a place in the annals of South Africa's all-time sporting greats, serving as an inspiration for future generations of swimmers.
This 26-year-old South African has a Psychology and Communications degree from the University of Arizona. When Schoeman is not in the USA training, he spends his time in South Africa with his mother and sister in Pretoria. Schoeman looks forward to representing South Africa at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
Schoeman was elected South African Sports Star of the Year in 2004 and was named Athlete of the Year in 2004 by Swimming South Africa.