Olympic Champion Tatjana Schoenmaker to Bypass World Champs; Will Focus on Commonwealth Games

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Olympic Champion Tatjana Schoenmaker to Bypass World Champs; Will Focus on Commonwealth Games

Two months shy of their start, the World Championships continue to lose star power, with South African Olympic champion Tatjana Schoenmaker the latest elite athlete to reveal she will not compete in Budapest. Schoenmaker has decided to focus her attention on the summer’s Commonwealth Games, a choice also made by Australian stars Emma McKeon and Kyle Chalmers.

Schoenmaker, who was named Swimming World’s African Female Swimmer of the World for 2021, was one of the standouts at last summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo. In addition to breaking the world record in the 200-meter breaststroke, the South African added a silver medal in the 100 breaststroke, where she was edged by American teenager Lydia Jacoby. Schoenmaker was joined on the podium in the 200 breaststroke by Americans Lilly King and Annie Lazor.

The Commonwealth Games have long been a priority for the nations which are eligible for participation, namely the British countries, Australia, Canada and South Africa. This year’s competition is slated for Birmingham, England from July 28 to August 8. Countries are allowed to enter three competitors per event, as opposed to the two-per-nation limit utilized at the Olympics and World Champs.

Last week, Swimming Australia announced that it has offered wildcard invitations for the Commonwealth Games to McKeon, Chalmers and Ariarne Titmus to entice its leading stars to race in Birmingham. McKeon and Chalmers have indicated they will not compete at next month’s Aussie Trials, although Titmus is expected to step on the blocks.

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