Roland Schoeman Tests Positive, Banned One Year By FINA

39-year-old South African Olympian Roland Schoeman has been banned for one year after reportedly having tested positive for a banned substance. We have requested the full FINA Doping Panel decision from FINA, and as of publishing it has not been provided.

Per the FINA ruling, Schoeman tested positive for banned substance GW501516 in May of 2019, a drug obtained on the black market and considered to be a cancer risk. The World Anti-Doping Agency categorizes GW501516 as a ‘hormone and metabolic modulator’, alerting athletes in 2013 that the substance failed medical trials and was a toxic threat to health if used as a performance enhancer. (Washington Post)

We have reached out to Schoeman for comment on this ban, which expires on May 17th, 2020. With the one-year ban having been backdated to the date of his test there is still a chance the veteran could compete in Tokyo as he will be eligible before the Games begin.

As we reported previously, the official Olympic selection policy of South Africa has not been revealed as of yet. An official document does not appear on the organization’s website, nor among those sporting federation selection policies published on the SASCOC site.

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.

Schoeman was entered in the FINA Swimming World Cup stop in Tokyo, which took place in August of last year, but he was a no-show for all 3 of his races. He did race at 4 meets in Europe in June: the Sette Colli Trophy and all 3 stops of the Mare Nostrum series. At the most recent meet, Sette Colli, he swam 22.7 in the 50 free, 49.9 in the 100 free, and 23.8 in the 50 fly.

Last year racing at Mare Nostrum Series in Monaco, Schoeman told SwimSwam, “The goal for me is to make the Olympic team next year.

“It’s about learning to do what nobody else has done before.”

You can read the full FINA statement here and below:

On 18 May 2019, FINA conducted an out-of-competition doping control test on the swimmer Roland Schoeman (RSA). The athlete was tested positive to the substance GW501516 (Class S.4 Hormone and Metabolic Modulators). 

According to the decision of the FINA Doping Panel, Mr. Roland Schoeman has been found to have committed an anti-doping rule violation under FINA DC Rule 2.1 – presence of prohibited substance in an athlete’s sample. He has been sanctioned with a twelve (12) months’ ineligibility period commencing on 18 May 2019, a date fixed by the Panel pursuant to FINA DC 10.11.1, and ending at the conclusion of 17 May 2020, for his first anti-doping rule violation.


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))): i genuinely hope it was some sort of mistake or mix up because Roland Schoeman is an athlete I have looked up to for years

Hey I’m here

Did you hear about his friend Joe?


Joe Mama

Hey I’m here




Hey I’m here

So is this permanent or only 4 the olympics in 2024?


Did you read the article? He’s likely eligible for the Olympics as it’s a 12-month ban


in 2016 however, south african olympic trials were held in April, so if that same standard followed, he would not be eligible


As stated in the article the South African Olympic qualifying process has not been publicized. Very likely smaller countries such as South Africa will consider performances done outside of trials with a competitive window. Remains to be seen

Hey I’m here

Thank you! I did not read! Good luck Ronald with you’re ban!

Coach John

weird flex


Great. The children are posting on SwimSwam now too.

Clean Juice

At 39 one needs a little go-juice to kick start a comeback.


Just getting caught now.

About Retta Race

Retta Race

After 16 years at a Fortune 1000 financial company, long-time swimmer Retta Race decided to change lanes and pursue her sporting passion. She currently is Coach for the Northern KY Swordfish Masters, a team she started up in December 2013, while also offering private coaching. Retta is also an MBA …

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