Tatjana Schoenmaker is a swimming legend in the making. Since 2016, Schoenmaker has displayed incredible progression and impressive swimming statistics, shaving almost eight seconds off her personal record that now has the South African owning the event’s fastest time ever in the 200m Breaststroke.
The 24-year-old who specialises in breaststroke swimming events started her swimming career in water safety and was quickly recognised for her aquatic talents. She then decided to compete professionally. Schoenmaker has been swimming competitively for 15-years and is now hailed as one of South Africa’s swimming greats.
After she had clinched double gold in the women’s 100m and 200m Breaststroke at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, Schoenmaker then became the first South African female to win a medal at the 18th FINA World Championships 2019 which brought her to tears on the podium as she received her silver medal.
She swam brilliantly in the semi-final race and went on to set a new African and South African record in the women’s 200m Breaststroke at the Championships in Gwangju with a time of 2:21.79.
During her Olympic debut last year, Schoenmaker wowed the crowds by setting not one, but two new Olympic records at the Tokyo 2020 Games. She set her first Olympic record in the 100m semi-final with a time of 1:04.82. Schoenmaker would do one better in the women’s 200m Breaststroke final to win gold with a new world record time, clocking 2:18:95.
Schoenmaker came out on top in a duel with American Lilly King and in the process smashed Rikke Pedersen's (DEN) world record that had lasted eight years. She ended up taking home gold in the 200m Breaststroke and silver in the 100m behind Team USA's Lydia Jacoby.
After her golden 200m Breaststroke swim, Schoenmaker said:
“I feel like it really hasn’t sunk in yet. Really just in every race, to focus on myself and believe that God’s power will come through.”
“Whether that means I come last or not as long as I focus and know that I did everything from my side and God did the rest, I think I would have walked out of here with so much peace no matter what the outcome.”
With the 19th FINA World Championships Budapest 2022 looming we can’t wait to see if Schoenmaker will smash her 200m breaststroke record yet again! Watch this space…!