According to his Twitter account, South African superstar Roland Schoeman has torn the pronator teres muscle in his right arm, combined with a hematoma, and will be out of the water for 4-6 weeks.
The pronator teres is a muscle in the forearm that is used to rotate the hand, especially when the elbow is at 90 degrees, and also helps (weakly) to flex the elbow. If you hold your right arm out with your palm up, it’s the muscle that starts just above your elbow, on the outside of your arm, and runs underneath the other large forearm muscles. As one can understand, the motion of swimming would be quite painful with this muscle (and make healing quite difficult), given that your hand is in the prone position while pulling on freestyle.
The pronator teres is one of the muscles that can be injured in “tennis elbow,” though that’s typically an overuse injury. Given the hematoma (which refers to the bruising seen in the picture below, posted by Roland to his Twitter feed), this seems more like a sudden “snap,” rather than overuse. Still, this gives you an idea of the type of pain that the injury likely causes Schoeman.
The injury seems to have happened while Roland was at home in his native South Africa (he’s currently living and training in Phoenix in the United States). He played in the Ernie Els Golf Invitational while there. As of posting, he’s en route to Phoenix, and plans to be further evaluated when he arrives there.
How this affects Schoeman’s Olympic hopes is yet undecided. With young gunners Graeme Moore and Gideon Luow getting better-and-better as post-grads, the battle for spots in the individual 50 free will be cuthroat at South African Trials the first week of April. On top of that, South Africa strangely left Schoeman off of their 400 free relay at Worlds that was 1 leg away from a medal. One would imagine that