Tatjana Schoenmaker speeds to another record in the pool
By Karien Jonckheere
GQEBERHA - Tatjana Schoenmaker said she’d been working on her speed and it showed.
The 23-year-old’s first swim across the Newton Park pool on day one of the SA Swimming Championships in Gqeberha resulted in a new SA and African record.
The time of 30.42 seconds came in the heats of the 50m breaststroke which is not an Olympic event – nor is it Schoenmaker’s main event. But it bodes well for the 100 and 200m breaststroke in which she is hoping to compete in Tokyo later this year.
The Pretoria swimmer followed that up with an even quicker swim in the evening’s final, taking the title with yet another record time of 30.32.
“It’s amazing. It’s obviously a lot different to the 200m so hopefully that speed can show a bit more in the 200,” said the double Commonwealth Games champion, who claimed silver in the 200m breaststroke at the 2019 World Championships.
“I am really trying to get that first 100 to go a bit faster but it is quite hard to go out that fast and keep the pace so I’m really hoping it works out – we’ll see on Friday,” she added.
“Normally the 50 is just a fun race – we’re lucky to have it on the first day just to get the race nerves away so I’m really happy.
Fellow Tokyo hopeful Chad le Clos showed no signs of the shoulder niggle that’s hampered his recent training, holding off the challenge of 17-year-old Matt States to take the 50m butterfly title in 23.72 seconds.
“I’m happy with that because there was a bit of pressure from the youngsters. They’ve been beating me in recent times so it’s nice to start off with a good, solid performance. A little off the big boys in the rest of the world but so far so good,” said Le Clos afterwards.
Asked about the shoulder niggle, he added: “It was quite tough after the (Durban) Grand Prix but it’s much better now. I think it’s a ligament problem that I had but I didn’t feel anything today or this last week so I’m very happy.”
Elsewhere there was joy for Gqeberha local Alaric Basson who took the 50m breaststroke title in 28.09 seconds while Durban’s Erin Gallagher claimed the 50m butterfly in 26.50. 16-year-old Leigh McMorran won the 800m freestyle in 8:54.65.
The SA Championships, which double as Olympic trials, continue until April 12.