Roland Schoeman Started Swimming to Impress a Girl in High School (Video)


  • April 26, 2019
  • 6:30pm ET
  • Louisville, KY
  • 50 free shoot-out style
  • LCM
  • Results on Meet Mobile under ‘TYR Derby Pro Swim Meet’
  • Meet page

Reported by Karl Ortegon.

Though he was eliminated after the preliminaries of the TYR Derby Pro Swim Meet, South African swimming legend Roland Schoeman still broke 23 seconds with a time of 22.88. At age 38 (he turns 39 on July 3rd of this year), he’s the oldest swimmer in the USA Swimming database (which is not exhaustive of every swim ever) to have broken the 23-second barrier.

Brazil’s Nicholas Santos is a bit older than Schoeman, and he’s broken 23 seconds this year in both free and fly. Santos turned 39 in February of 2019. Santos was 22.91 in free and 22.77 in fly at the Brazil Trophy last week. Schoeman’s free time from tonight, though, is a tad faster than Santos’s, but Santos’s fly was better than Schoeman’s free time tonight as well as Santos’s own free time from the same meet he clocked the fly time.

Not as recent as Santos is another swimmer, GBR’s Mark Foster. He was 22.29 in April of 2008 at age 37, a month before he turned 38, and then was 22.69 at age 39 in June of 2009.

This is all to say that it’s very impressive to have swimmers pushing 40 years old who can still get under the 23-second mark. For some context, the 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials cut is a 23.19 , and both swimmers have been well under that.

Schoeman was a member of the South African Olympic team for four straight Games from 2000 to 2012. In 2004, he led off his country’s 4×100 free relay in 48.17 as they clocked gold ahead of the Netherlands as well as the USA in a world record time of 3:13.17. Individually, Schoeman was the 2005 World Champion in the 50 free and the 2002 Commonwealth Games Champion in the 50 free.

He’s the South African record holder in the 50 free in both long and short course meters.


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Recently Schoeman at a “Fitter & Faster” event with Brett Hawke. Schoeman was extremely down to early. Couldn’t have been nicer to the kids. And he told the same story about getting into swimming to impress a girl!


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Anthony Ervin also under 23 seconds in Gangzhou. He Swam 22.90 He is nearly 38. He turned 38 of may 26 this year.

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