Closing on a high note

2009-08-11 08:00
Sport24 columnist Roland Schoeman (File)
Roland Schoeman

Well it is the end of another long swimming season - and once again it has been filled with mixed emotions.

On one hand the World Championships didn’t go nearly as well as I had hoped or even expected, while on the other hand the South African short course championships provided another rather large glimmer of hope.

It’s never easy for me coming home from a major international swim meet without any hardware. I think over time I have come to “expect” the most from myself in every single competitive environment and rarely do I ever accept “failure” form myself (failure in this instance is relative and based on comparison to past successes).

This is part of the problem however. At no point in time should an athlete compare their current performances to past successful or unsuccessful performances. The reason being is that no two seasons are the same. Each will present its own challenges, failures, frustrations and opportunities for growth.

This all being said, I am not exactly sure why I wasn’t firing on all cylinders in Rome. The environment and vibe were amazing. My preparations were good and there definitely wasn’t a lack in motivation. Sometimes you have it and other times you don’t. What determines your eventual success is the way in which you handle “failure” and “defeat”.

After the world champs I could have decided to pack it up for the year, go on vacation and over-analyse my performances in Rome. The only option however in my eyes was to go to Pietermaritzburg for the South African short course championships and try to close the season out in a way I believed I was capable of.

I’m ecstatic that I managed to do just that. Closing off the season with a world record - my 10th in all - is unbelievably special to me. Some people have been writing me off over the last couple of years, but once again I’ve proved to myself that I’m only getting better.

On another positive note I want to congratulate Cameron van der Burgh, Gerhard Zandberg and Chad Ho. It’s great to see them stepping up the way they have. These guys have really done us proud. This in no way discounts the rest of the performances by our national team. Cameron however was definitely our top performer at the world champs. He’s a natural born racer and I really hope he has a long and successful career ahead of him.

South Africa has been in dire need of swimming role models. I believe now we have firmly established a handful of these. It’s important for all South Africans out there to know that we can be the best in the world, we can win gold medals, break world records and succeed in any avenue in which we choose. I hope with all of the successful South African teams and individuals we produce, that more people out there will believe in themselves and that they will go out and achieve their goals irrespective of how impossible they may seem.

My life’s motto is "Believe in the impossible". I believe that now more than ever...

Roland is a multiple Olympic medal winner... and an avid Blue Bulls supporter.

Disclaimer: Sport24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on Sport24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Sport24.


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