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Olympic Swimmer Roland Schoeman visits West Island School
11/2/2016


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On Thursday 27 October, 4 time South African Olympic Swimmer and champion Roland Schoeman ran a Starts and Turns Clinic for 45 of our Harry Wright competitive swimmers.

The clinic took place at West Island. This was a great opportunity for swimmers to meet a swimmer who has achieved so much in the sport. Over the last 15 years Roland has been one of the greatest sprint swimmers in the world. He is an Olympic Gold Medallist and has broken multiple world records both in Long Course and Short Course swimming events.

The Swim Clinic was broken into 2 parts; a Question and Answer session and a Pool Session.

The Question and Answer session gave the swimmers and parents a great opportunity to listen to Roland’s story. He spoke about his career from his humble beginning in South Africa to where he is now. There were a few clear messages from his talk that would have stuck with the swimmers. To be successful, there has to be Sacrifice, Hard Work, Dedication and Self Belief. He also spoke about his time as a young swimmer in South Africa and how he managed school and swimming. Roland stressed that it is possible to be successful at both, and that it’s important swimmers learn to manage their time by creating a daily schedule.

The pool session was a great opportunity for the swimmers to see how world class swimmers put a huge emphasis on their skills. When working on Starts, Roland paid huge emphasis to Streamline and the importance of getting into a strong Streamline Position. Streamlining is a skill that needs to practice daily. Roland also spoke to swimmers about the key points to a good starts. Those points were:
  • Driving not only with the front foot and driving hard off the back foot
  • Entry point into the water and
  • Holding that perfect streamline once you have entered the water.
During the turns part of the session, Roland went through all the turns. Swimmers were divided into lanes and went through all race turns. Roland was very hands on, by showing and manipulating swimmers into the correct position when turning. He spent 10 minutes with each lane giving each of the swimmers pointers that can help them improve.

Speaking to Roland during the water session, he said his main aim was to give swimmers the tools; knowledge that would help in improving their skills.

Looking around at the swimmers during the clinic, one thing really stood out was the smiles on all of their faces. To have a swimmer of Roland Schoeman’s calibre come out and spend time with our swimmers is something that they will cherish for long time. These types of clinic and opportunity can only inspire future Olympic stars and swimmers to be successful in the sport of swimming.

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