Schoenmaker scoops 100m breaststroke silver at World Championships in Japan

Tatjana Schoenmaker added another accolade to her prolific haul, claiming the silver medal in the 100m breaststroke at the World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka, Japan on Tuesday. The 26-year-old... Read more
Schoenmaker scoops 100m breaststroke silver at World Championships in Japan

Tatjana Schoenmaker added another accolade to her prolific haul, claiming the silver medal in the 100m breaststroke at the World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka, Japan on Tuesday.

The 26-year-old star reached the 50m mark in fourth place but stormed back into podium contention in the second half of the race, producing a particularly speedy final 25m to secure the silver in a time of 1:05.84.

Lithuania’s 2012 Olympic champion Ruta Meilutytė dominated from the start and claimed the gold in a time of 1:04.62. American Lydia Jacoby, who won the Olympic 100m breaststroke title in Tokyo in 2021 ahead of Schoenmaker, took the bronze in Fukuoka in 1:05.94, while her compatriot, Lilly King, who holds the world record in the event, missed out on the medals, finishing fourth in 1:06.02.

Schoenmaker’s focus will now shift to her main event – the 200m breaststroke, in which she won Olympic gold in 2021, with the heats scheduled for Thursday.

“I didn’t expect that [medal]. The last world championships I was at [in 2019] I came sixth in the 100m so to medal is incredible,” said the Pretoria swimmer after her race.

“I don’t train for the 100, I train for the 200 so I’m just grateful that my speed is there.

“Obviously the 200 is more my main focus, but I’m very grateful that my 100 time is fast because that helps a lot with the 200. But it is obviously a completely different race.

“I was very indecisive as to whether to come to this competition – it’s been a very tough two years for me – so I think swimming my fastest time since the Olympics, I’m slowly getting there,” she added.

Meanwhile, Michael Houlie earned a place in the 50m breaststroke semifinals, finishing 14th overall in the morning heats in a time of 27.31 seconds.

In the evening semifinal, the 23-year-old was quickest off the blocks but finished in eighth place in 27.57 seconds, so missing out on a spot in Wednesday’s final.

“I actually didn’t know I was quickest off the blocks but I think that’s a great sign that I was in the mood, I was ready,” said Houlie after the race.

“I think my body reacted really well. The explosiveness is definitely there.

“I think there are definitely a lot of things that I can work on in that race… one step at a time, I guess. I wasn’t fully satisfied with how it went but that’s life, stuff happens and you’ve got to move forward and on to the next one,” added Houlie who will now head to Chengdu, China to compete at the World University Games.

The other South Africans in action were 19-year-old Aimee Canny who finished 24th overall in the 200m freestyle in a time of 1:59.30 and Righardt Muller who was 31st overall in the men’s 800m freestyle after finishing in 8:07.08.

Swimming action continues on Wednesday in Fukuoka with Milla Drakopoulos competing in the women’s 50m backstroke heats, Clayton Jimmie in the men’s 100m freestyle heats, and Trinity Hearne in the women’s 200m butterfly heats.

Photo: Anton Geyser

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