GWANGJU, South Korea – South Africa swimmer Tatjana Schoenmaker qualified for her first final at the World Long-Course Championships in Gwangju, South Korea on Monday.
Schoenmaker showed no sign of nerves in finishing second in her 100m breaststroke semi-final with a time of 1:06.61.
She touched second behind former world champion Yuliya Efimova of Russia, who won the race in a time o-f 1:05.56 which was the fastest of the two semi-finals.
Schoenmaker said she was delighted to advance to her first final at the global showpiece, where she had a chance to challenge for a medal.
“I am happy, I came second in my heat, so now in the final I have a chance, and I am here for the experience to race. So, it is awesome,” Schoenmaker said.
The 22-year-old believed she had more in the tank after coming within 0.2 seconds of the national record she clocked in her gold medal swim at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
“I have a morning rest, so hopefully that will help me a bit, and I have to trust my stroke. It is hard when you are racing these fast people.
“You see them sprinting next to you, and you think ‘Am I behind’, so it is about racing your race.”
Schoenmaker was the only South African to feature in the evening’s swimming after the rest fell short during the morning heats.
Rio Olympian Christopher Reid came up short of featuring in the men’s 100m backstroke semi-finals, and was one of the reserves after finishing 19th overall with a time of 54.12.
“It was a good race for me… it showed me that I still had some speed, the 200m backstroke is the priority for me, I will give it my best shot in the 200m, and technically, nothing is wrong,” said Reid.
In the women’s 100m backstroke, Mariella Venter could not qualify for the next round despite finishing third in her heat in 1:02.95.
Eben Vorster featured in the men’s 200m freestyle heats but could not advance, finishing 44th overall clocking 1:51.70.
Meanwhile, the women’s water polo team finished their campaign at the global championships in 14th place following a 21-2 defeat to Japan in their classification match.
The side’s 14th-place finish is their best in six appearances at the world championships, and a marked improvement on the previous edition in 2017, when they placed 17th.
African News Agency (ANA)