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Champion Schoeman’s San Diego learning curve
- Updated: April 24, 2013
While our 2012 Olympic triathlete Richard Murray was racing his way to second spot in the ITU event in San Diego at the weekend, our national champion Henri Schoeman finding out exactly how tough the going is at the highest level, writes Mark Etheridge.
Murray ended second in a time of 1hr 47min 16sec, just 22 seconds behind Olympic champion Alistair Brownlee.
Further down the field Schoeman was going through a tough learning curve, eventually finishing 42nd in 1:56:16.
But the encouraging aspect of Schoeman’s run is that he has learnt from the experience and puts his rapid slowing down to not hydrating enough in the days before the elite event.
His splits for the 1500-metre swim, 40km cycle and 10km run were 16min 09 (swim), 60:12 (cycle) and 38:24 for the run.
Despite ending up in post-race medical care, Schoeman still says he had a great experience. “I enjoyed every moment of the race. Even although I had a bad result because of a simple mistake I made leading into the event by not taking in enough water during the final few days, I’m very confident with the way I swam and biked with the strongest of swimmers and bikers, I am ready for this racing and cannot wait for my next one!
“I had a great start, timing my jump into the water with perfection giving me clear water to surge ahead of the others around me. I was in about fifth or sixth at the first buoy and with an inside line I managed to cut my way through to third and sit on Alistair [Brownlee’s] feet. The first lap was taken out very fast with Tommy Zaferes from USA. The second lap we slowed down a lot and I was able to get into a very comfortable stroke and slip the leaders for a change, which is so easy!
“A group of six or seven of us exited the water together and soon formed a group of nine and stayed cleared of a big chase pack for six of eight laps. It was really difficult with some big names putting in hard work in the front to close the gap.
“I felt really great and in control until about lap six where I felt something wasn’t right. I immediately lost strength in my body. I was also cramping in my arms, fingers, chest, back, hamstrings, calves and feet. A clear sign of dehydration. I was feeling very thirsty on the bike and all my water and juice didn’t help thatÔÇª I hit the run and had absolutely nothing to give. I was sprinting but was just barely keeping up. I gritted my teeth and made sure I finished to the best of my ability. I was nearly blacking out on my last lap of the run and landed up in medical care post race with dehydration and exhaustion.
“It’s an expensive lesson and shall definitely learn from it. I have also gained so much experience that not a lot people get to have. I swam and biked with the best in the world in front of many top triathletes and felt in control. To me that’s a huge confident boost!
“Well done to RSA team mate Richard Murray for pulling off a great run and finishing in second and another big thank to all my support back home cheering me on at 2am SA time.”