By Mark Etheridge
One stroke closer to qualifying for this year’s Olympic Games in London, Heerden Herman surprised even himself with his first qualifying swim in Durban at the weekend.
Swimming the grueling 1500-metre event the Stellenbosch based swimmer came home in an excellent 15min 06.11sec, comfortably inside the qualifying target of 15:11.83.
That mark would have made him the world’s 18th best swimmer over the distance last year and it’s also the quickest in the world this year. But as Herman told Road to London 2012 on Wednesday: “It’s still very early in the year and there’s lots of racing to come.┬á But I was very happy after my swim.
“I knew I was in decent form and knew I had a chance but I wasn’t completely happy about what would happen.
“I’ve only started getting back into some hard training in the past couple of weeks, after my illness and overtraining from last year so I was a bit unsure about exactly where I would be.” Herman was part of the Team SA squad for All Africa Games in Maputo, Mozambique last year but had to return home before competing due to an allergic reaction.
Next up for the student is an international date. “I’ll be racing the Olympic Test event in London at the beginning of March, but my next big focus is our Olympic trials (16-22 April in Durban). I have to qualify again at the SA Nationals/Olympic trials, and come in the┬á top two in my event, and then I should have my spot.”
Herman is certainly in a demanding period of his training:┬á “I’ll taper down again just before the Olympic Trials but I’m currently doing about 15km in the pool a day, and then I also gym twice a week.”
Tough but all part of the daily grind of a prospective Olympian.