A series of some surprising results caused our current African Champion Henri Schoeman to get himself from 207th to 10th in the world in a mere 6 months.
Schoeman experienced a hard learning curve during his race in Stockholm, Sweden but is positive that it will only make him stronger where it matters.
The 1,5km swim consisted of 2 laps of 750m, followed by a 40km bike consisting of 10 laps of 4km each and then onto a run course of 10km divided into 4 laps of 2,5km’s. About 30% of the bike and run was over cobblestones followed by a steep hill that had to be climbed 10 times on the bike and then another 4 times on the run. “It was an exciting and challenging course. It was a very technical race and demanded 100% concentration at all times.”
Not at all feeling himself on the day, Schoeman managed to maintain a 3rd position out of the swim. “I found myself trying much harder just to maintain my position coming out of the water.”
The swim was very aggressive and both Brownlee’s tried to take Schoeman off course twice before the turn buoys. In a second of doubt Schoeman nearly lost the lead pack out of transition but knew what it took to catch them and bridged the gap within two kilometers. “I had a bad T1 and had to work very hard to catch the front group of 9, luckily I was able to bridge the gap, and we managed to get a decent lead of about 1:20 over the chase pack going into T2.”
The addiction of being in the lead pack has taken full force in the South African champion and he has already made a name for himself among fellow competitors. “It is great to be out in the breakaway, the experiences are not easily explained, you learn so much and it makes you much stronger as an athlete, mentally and physically.”
Although there is a little disappointment for letting a great opportunity slip, Schoeman is happy to have maintained his 10th position in the series rankings going into the Grand Final in London as a strong competitor. “It was a perfect opportunity to get a great result. I struggled the entire race but suffered most on the run. I kept myself motivated to finish and happy to have bagged some points.”
Looking back at the goals he set at the start of the season, Schoeman is more than happy with his results and current ranking. “I am still very young and new to this level of racing. It’s the first time that I have raced so many events in such a short time at such a high level.”
Schoeman will head back home positive and work closely with his coaches Joe Schoeman and Alisdair Hatfield over the next two weeks to ensure he is ready for the final leg of the series. “I look forward to getting back home and getting in some good training over the next couple of weeks in preparation for London.”
He thanked the great supporters in Stockholm and his family and girlfriend back home in Durban for their support as well as his sponsors: FINIS, HUUB Design, Puma, Cytomax and Classic Eyes Gateway.
Credit: Franzel Allen