South Africa’s greatest swimmer needs a prodigy

 

He is a true South African hero. An Olympic champion. And a ten-time world record breaker. But he’s not done. In the twilight of a remarkable career, Roland Schoeman is looking to shape the future of his country through sport – the unifying force that Nelson Mandela himself called us to trust. The athletic icon’s next step? Opening swimming academies. He hopes to inspire South Africa’s youth to strive for greatness.

When he first started swimming Schoeman couldn’t have imagined what he would achieve in the pool. It’s not that he wasn’t ambitious – far from it. His inauguration into the school swimming team at 14 was inspired by his desire to impress a young lady. Things didn’t work out. But no matter – Schoeman had found a lifelong love in the sport that has since seen him give so much back to South Africa. And by making the transition from master to instructor, he hopes to continue this legacy.

Schoeman’s wish to pass the benefits of swimming on to others is grounded in the impact that the sport has had on him as a person. It gave him the opportunity to push his limits, to force his way far beyond them – to overcome the asthma that restricted him as a child. “Don’t compare yourself to somebody around you. Be as good as you can be,” says Schoeman. For the man who grew up admiring his country’s sporting greats, self-belief was the first step towards heroism. It will be the cornerstone for the future success of South Africa’s youth.