Roland Schoeman exhibited sharp sprinting skills as he claimed three gold medals at the Fina Swimming World Cup in Berlin on the weekend, competing in the 50 metres breaststroke, butterfly and freestyle.
On Saturday, the 33-year-old South African struck gold with a very fast swim in the breaststroke, clocking 25.65 seconds to relegate Italy’s Fabio Scozzoli to second in 25.72, with Germany’s Hendrick Feldwehr some way back in third in a time of 26.37.
Schoeman followed that up with victory in the 50 metres butterfly in 22.05 seconds – only 0.25 outside of Steffen Deibler’s world record, which was set in the controversial “swimsuit era”. Deibler was second in 22.14, with South Africa’s Chad le Clos taking third in 22.53.
Speaking after his two titles on the opening day of competition, Schoeman told journalists: “I’m incredibly blessed to be able to do something I love. I am living proof that if you believe in yourself and work hard at achieving your goals, anything is possible, no matter your age or your background.”
On the second day, Schoeman upset pre-race favourite Vladimir Morozov, who had defeated world champion James Magnussen in the 100 metres freestyle, in the shorter sprint. Making full use of an excellent start, the South African ace rocketed to victory in a fast 20.86 seconds.
Schoeman, South Africa’s most successful men’s swimmer ever, recently let on that he will be attempting to win a place to his fifth Olympic Games in 2016, where he hopes to compete in the 50 and 100 metres freestyle and the 4 by 100 metres freestyle relay.
Chad le Clos captured the 200 metres butterfly title on the opening day in Berlin with a fast time of 1:49.90, but on the second day he had to settle for two silver medals.
American Thomas Shields took out the 100 metres butterfly title in 49.01, with Le Clos clocking 49.48 for second place and Steffen Deibler 49.72 for third.
Myles Brown, who lopped two seconds off Ryk Neethling’s South African record in the 400m freestyle in the previous stop in Eindhoven, picked up a bronze medal in the event in a time of 3:41.36.