/ 21 July 2008

Schoeman won’t swim 100m freestyle at Olympics

South Africa’s hopes of a gold medal in the 100m freestyle swimming event at the Olympic Games in Beijing received a major blow when it was confirmed that their main medal contender, Roland Schoeman, would not take part in the event.

Schoeman, who holds the fastest time by a South African in the event, and is a medal hopeful at the Games, will swim in the 4x100m freestyle relay after a decision by Swimming South Africa to only enter two swimmers in the 100m freestyle event.

Afrikaans Sunday newspaper Sondag reported that the main problem was that Schoeman finished third at the South African Swimming Championships, behind Ryk Neethling and Lyndon Ferns. Schoeman arrived late at the event, and was unable to warm up properly, contributing to the result.

Shaun Adriaanse, CEO of Swimming SA, confirmed to Sondag that Schoeman would not take part in the event.

”As things stand now, unless either Ryk or Lyndon withdraw, that is the way it will stand,” Adriaanse said.

Schoeman confirmed to the newspaper he was concentrating on the relay and had accepted his fate in the individual event.

”I am concentrating now on the first leg of the relay, because I want to make a point. I have also qualified in the 50m freestyle and I also want to do well there. Beijing will be a lot tougher than Athens because there are so many more swimmers who can win there.

”I would love to win a medal, but it will be one of the toughest Olympics ever. So I have decided to try to swim my best times and to really enjoy the experience.”

Schoeman won a silver medal in the 100m freestyle event in Athens. — Sapa