Double medal hope for Team SA in 200m breaststroke as Tatjana Schoenmaker, Kaylene Corbett victorious in semi-finals
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CAPE TOWN - TEAM South Africa will have two ladies in the 200 metres breaststroke final after Tatjana Schoenmaker and Kaylene Corbett surged to victory in their respective semi-finals on Thursday.
While Schoenmaker is the favourite for the gold medal and was expected to go through to the decider, Corbett faced a tough examination in her race against top guns such as 100m world record-holder Lilly King of the United States and Great Britain’s Molly Renshaw.
And so it proved, as it was King who was understandably the fastest out of the blocks and led at the 50m mark.
Corbett was trailing in fourth at that stage, and that was where she remained after 100m as well.
But then she started to make up ground on the American King, producing a 36.35-second split in the third 50m compared to the 37.02 of her rival.
The 22-year-old South African was again the quickest in the last lap, making up nearly half-a-second on King to win in 2:22.08 – another new personal best after achieving the same milestone in her heat.
Then it was Schoenmaker’s turn, and she raced into the lead after the opening 50 metres.
The 24-year-old, also a Tuks Sport athlete like Corbett, gradually increased her lead, with further splits of 35.61, 35.74 and 36.05 to clinch victory in 2:19.33.
She got close to the world record of 2:19.11 again, but didn’t quite get her last stroke right as she reached out for the wall. That meant she was also shy of her Olympic record of 2:19.16 that she set in the heat.
But all that really matters is that Schoenmaker was through to the final, where she will hope to claim the gold medal in Friday’s final (3.41am SA time), and that her teammate Corbett can join her on the podium.
The other South African in the pool on Thursday morning, 18-year-old Matthew Sates, made a strong start to the men’s 200m individual medley semi-final, turning in second place after the first 50m.
But he wasn’t able to maintain that pace, and finished last in 1:58.75.
Women’s 200m breaststroke semi-final 1
1 Kaylene Corbett (RSA) 2:22.08
2 Lilly King (USA) 2:22.27
3 Molly Renshaw (GB) 2:22.70
4 Sophie Hansson (Sweden) 2:24.28
5 Jingyao Yu (China) 2:24.76
6 Jessica Vall Montero (Spain) 2:24.87
7 Lisa Mamie (Switzerland) 2:25.11
DSQ: Kelsey Lauren Wog (Canada)
Women’s 200m breaststroke semi-final 2
1 Tatjana Schoenmaker (RSA) 2:19.33
2 Evgeniia Chikunova (ROC) 2:20.57
3 Annie Lazor (USA) 2:21.94
4 Abbie Wood (GB) 2:22.35
5 Fanny Lecluyse (Belgium) 2:23.73
6 Jenna Strauch (Australia) 2:24.25
7 Mariia Temnikova (ROC) 2:24.69
8 Francesca Fangio (Italy) 2:27.56
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