Schoenmaker is the new golden girl of SA swimming
The local swimmer Tatyana Schoenmaker’s performance at the Commonwealth Games established her as South Africa’s greatest female swimmer since Penny Heyns.
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Tatjana Schoenmaker completed her hat trick of African records earlier this week by winning the 100m-breaststroke at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in a time of 1:06.41.
She is undoubtedly at the moment the golden girl of South African swimming. On Saturday the Tuks-athlete won the 200m-breaststroke in an African record time of 2:22.02. She was fourth in the 50m-breaststroke in another record time of 30.82s. It noteworthy to mention that the three records Schoenmaker bettered were all held by the legendary Penny Heyns.
For the last eight years South Africa has been holding out for a female hero, and now it is Schoenmaker who stepped up to the proverbial plate. She is the first in eight years to win gold at the Commonwealth Games. In 2010 in Delhi Natalie du Toit claimed three gold medals.
The Tuks swimmer impressed throughout the Games with the clinical precision she executed her races. Nothing seemed to faze her and she was in total control from the moment the starter’s pistol fired in the 100m breaststroke.
Afterwards Schoenmaker said she felt honoured to have broken Penny Heyns’s 100m and 50m-breaststroke African records at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
“It is amazing that I was able to improve on records that have been standing for nearly 19 years. What made Penny’s performance unbelievable is that she did so swimming without ‘goggles or a suit’. If I had to swim without it, it would have been a different story. I take off my ‘hat’ to Penny for the times she swam in 1999,” said the Tuks swimmer.
Heyns set the African records in the 50m and 100m-breaststroke events during the Pan Pacific Championships in Sydney. Her times were 30.83s and 1:06.52.
Schoenmaker is not prepared to predict how long her records will stand.
“I think the new dawn of South African women’s swimming is about to start. We got a lot of young talented swimmers coming through the ranks. The results of the Commonwealth Games are a testimony to it. Hopefully, they will keep on setting new benchmarks in swimming,” she concluded.
And the best is yet to come. Rocco Meiring who coaches her at Tuks, predicted a long time ago that Schoenmaker would only be at her best at the Olympic Games in 2020.