Tatjana Schoenmaker set an African record during Swim South Africa’s Evaluation Camp Gala in Stellenbosch, winning the 100m breaststroke in 1min 05.89sec. Her previous best time was 1:06.32, which she swam in 2018.
It is one of the fastest times anywhere since 2016 and only five female swimmers had been faster. The Olympic qualifying standard for the 100m breaststroke is 1:07.07.
Schoenmaker also had no problems with being faster than the qualifying A-standard in the 200m breaststroke, which is 2:25.52. She won in 2:23.05. Her best time is 2:21.79.
She won the 50m breaststroke in 31.03.
Last year Schoenmaker improved the African and SA short-course 200m record on two occasions, the African and SA short-course 100m once and the African and SA long-course 50m once.
TuksSwimming head coach Rocco Meiring feels that Schoenmaker can go even faster.
‘Over the last few weeks, our focus had been on speed. That is why she swam such a fast time over 100 metres. In the buildup to next month’s Olympic Trials in Port Elizabeth, our focus will be to improve her backend speed over 200 metres.’
Meiring reiterated that their primary focus for the Tokyo Olympics remains the 200m breaststroke. According to him, whatever happens in the 100m will always be a bonus.
‘The problem is that training intensively for both events can be counterproductive in the long run. Tatjana, however, needed to be faster than 1:06 over 100 metres. From now on, it is all about marginal gains,’ explained Meiring.
‘I want Tatjana to consistently swim times of two minutes 23 seconds in the 200m breaststroke. The ultimate is to get her to swim 2:21 or even faster.’
According to Meiring, participation at next month’s Olympic Trials is going to be by invitation only. He expects only 100 or so swimmers to get the nod from Swim South Africa to compete. What excites him is that 25 of them could be Tuks swimmers. ‘If it happens, Tuks will be the best-represented club at the Trials.’
Photo: Reg Caldercott