The Morning Swim Show, May 8, 2012: Roland Schoeman Ready to Expect the Unexpected at Fourth Olympics

PHOENIX, Arizona, May 8. NOW that he has conformed to South Africa's Olympic qualifying standards, Roland Schoeman joins today's edition of The Morning Swim Show to look ahead to competing in his fourth Olympics.

Schoeman looks back with Peter Busch on his first time competing at the pool in Phoenix where he now trains, what he and coach Coley Stickels are working on in the final three months leading to the Olympics, and what he thinks of the potential field for the 50 free final in London. Be sure to visit SwimmingWorld.TV for more video interviews.

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Morning Swim Show Transcripts
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Peter Busch: Welcome to the Morning Swim Show for Tuesday, May 8th, 2012. I am your host Peter Busch. In the FINIS Monitor today we will talk to Roland Schoeman. The South African Sprinter is looking to qualify for his fourth Olympics and Roland joins us right now in the FINIS Monitor from Phoenix. Roland, it has been a long time. How you doing buddy?

Roland Schoeman: Peter, it has been ages. Thanks for having me on again. It is always a pleasure.

Peter Busch: Pleasure to have you. So tell us what is the deal? You have swam the qualifying times but you have to officially wait for the South African roster?

Roland Schoeman: Right. I mean South Africa has got a slightly different qualification criteria, most countries have one-for-one criteria. England has got two opportunities to qualify once where South Africa has, you know, you have to qualify twice and it is a little different to what we're used to. It has been extra tough on us but yeah. I went back to trials and qualified on the 5th day and then came back to Phoenix a week later and swimming my secondary qualifying time in the 50 freestyle so I know that has been accepted and we are waiting till I would believe May the 15th to be notified what the official team is.

Peter Busch: Is there any reason to believe that you won't be on that team?

Roland Schoeman: I am hoping and praying not, you know I have lived up to their standards and the criteria they have set in place and done everything for my side so as of right now it is a go so I am pretty happy for that and ecstatic about that.

Peter Busch: You know it one thing for people to swim these fast times at their trials. It is kind of to meet everybody's has been building up to, but to do it at this kind of a random meet, you know in Phoenix. Were you shaved and tapered I mean how prepared were you to go 22 flat?

Roland Schoeman: Well coming off a 26-odd-hour flight, and you know travel experience it was — I wasn't sure what we could do and I was bitterly disappointed with the way finals happened in South African trials. We seem to have a voodoo on the 50 free final and the 100 free final where we always seem to swim a lot slower, so trying to break that, but it was you know, I live and train in Phoenix. I love the Phoenix Swim Club so it is a — it is just a chance to step up and do another training set in essence and you know maybe a little less pressure and just get up and race and I knew what the standards were I needed to meet and I am just thankful that I managed to do that.

Peter Busch: And you must like that pool. I remember the very first time I ever saw you swim when you were, I don't know if you were technically at Arizona yet or if they were still recruiting you but it was at a meet at the Phoenix Swim Club.

Roland Schoeman: That is right, that is right I remember that Phoenix Grand Prix in 1998. I was being recruited and had a chance to race Gary Hall and all the big names, all my heroes at that point in time so it was a yeah a little bit of becoming of age here in the States.

Peter Busch: And the genie was out of the bottle after that swim. I remember.

Roland Schoeman: Yeah, I mean that was great. It was a chance to show hey, Rick, Frank, this what I can do and thanks for having me out here.

Peter Busch: And the rest is history. All right well assuming that you make the team and you get to swim the 50 in London, how do you like your chances?

Roland Schoeman: Well I think anybody that is going to London to swim the 50 meter freestyle is not writing themselves off at this point in time. I think everybody that is going out there is fancying themselves for a medal. It is a wide open event you know it is going to take, my guess it is going to take 21.5 to win a medal and I think there are 10-odd individuals in this world that are capable of 21.5 so that is the exciting thing. It is not cut and dry. It is not like some of the past Olympics and some of the events where you know you have kind of expect you want it to be you know x, y or z so it is — I am excited, all I know is I can control what I can control. We are working hard at this point in time. We are doing everything we can. We have identified weaknesses and strengths and you know Coley Stickles is just a great coach and he knows what he is doing so I am looking forward to the preparation.

Peter Busch: So you think 10 guys can go 21.5?

Roland Schoeman: I think 10 guys are within the realm of going 21.5. James Magnussen, he's showing he has got front end speed. George Bovell is always a threat. Cesar, of course. 21.3. Fred showed that he could go 21.3. Bruno Fratus also. I mean everybody is within that realm. I think it is going to — I think the Olympic final is going to be a lot faster than most people think. Everybody wants it. Everybody wants that 50 freestyle gold medal. It is sort of the epitome of the sprinters–so everybody is within that realm and I want to be in the middle of it. I want to be able to mix of it.

Peter Busch: Why have you never regained the form that you had in 2004?

Roland Schoeman: Hey man come on, 2005 was pretty good year for me.

Peter Busch: Well you know what I mean in Olympic years?

Roland Schoeman: Yeah, that is a good question. I mean in 2008 I went in and thought I was, you know, ready to go and two weeks after the Olympics broke a world record so it was you know I guess, Rick and I hadn't planned the season probably well enough and I probably needed a heck of a lot more rest. I think heading into the Olympic year everybody wants to try and do more and try to get better and you know unfortunately just I wasn't rested enough. I don't think. And I have been moving around a lot unfortunately and I thought getting back to South Africa was going to be in my best interest in terms of finding sponsors and you know creating a brand for myself there and you know living in South Africa just unfortunately didn't work for me. You know it has worked great for Chad and a couple of other youngsters. It's worked well for Cameron but for me the type of training I need to do it unfortunately it didn't work and tried Marseilles and Marseilles also was just wasn't, just it wasn't what I expected. It works great for those guys out there and I think Bradley Ally tried and it didn't work for him. It worked for me, it didn't work for Kim Vandenberg so you have to be a special person to be in Marseilles and have it work. Now I fortunately found, you know, a friend in Coley. We have known each other. I mean you have known him for years and you know when we find out he was going to be taking up the head coaching position here Phoenix I said if you get to head coaching position I am on the next plane out and I will be there training with you. He is a good guy. He is intuitive. He knows the body. He is just short of getting his PhD in exercise physiology. So he understands the dynamics of the body and doing well to somebody like that is crucial, because he was a sprinter himself and not 100 years ago, but you know 5 to 10 years ago he understands what a sprinter needs and I am glad to see that there is a progression you know going 22.0 again so it is the fastest I have been in a few years. I believe I am on the right track at this point.

Peter Busch: All right if 2004, 2005 was a 10 for you on the confidence level, where are you now?

Roland Schoeman: I am getting to 10 you know. It is good to see the progression. You know working with Coley and working with Endurance Rehab here in Phoenix. We have just you know we are ironing out all the details. And I think you know going into my fourth Olympics I have got maturity on my side. I have got experience on my side where it is you know I– these are the things I can control and I am doing well at controlling the things that I can and then we are progressing at that and it is good to see that and I am also working Dr.–. This summer Gary, Anthony and the race club workers they were here in Phoenix and she was brilliant absolutely brilliant so it is good to have her in my corner. We are getting there. We will be there by the Olympics.

Peter Busch: Well Roland it is good to see you in a good place and I wish you the best of luck this summer.

Roland Schoeman: Peter it is good to be in your show again. Thank you. For me it is also great to be in a good place and looking forward to catching up over the summer for sure. It is going to be a good one.

Peter Busch: Sounds good. Take care buddy.

Roland Schoeman: Cheers to you my friend.

Peter Busch: All right that is Roland Schoeman joining us in the FINIS Monitor today and that is it for today's show. I am Peter Busch reminding you to keep your head down at the finish.

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