Tatjana Schoenmaker Breaks 12-Year-Old African Record in SCM 200 Breaststroke

Photo Courtesy: Becca Wyant

South Africa’s Tatjana Schoenmaker broke the 12-year-old national record in the 200 breaststroke in short course meters on Friday at the Regional Short Course Championships in Pretoria. Schoenmaker swam a 2:18.20 to take down Suzaan Van Biljon’s record of 2:18.73 set in 2008.

Schoenmaker’s time would have placed her fifth in the world rankings for 2019, as she moved up to 20th all-time. Her previous best was a 2:18.93 that she swam at the 2018 South African short course championships.

Last year, she became the first South African woman to win a medal at the World Championships when she won a silver in the 200 breast at last year’s meet behind Yulia Efimova. In the 100 breaststroke, she finished sixth and just off the podium. She also swept the 100 and 200 breaststroke gold medals at the 2019 World University Games, a few short weeks before the World Championships. At the 2018 Commonwealth Games, she also swept the 100 and 200 breaststroke golds and became the first South African woman to win gold in swimming at the event.

Tatjana Schoenmaker, 23, was among the favorites for a medal ahead of the Olympic Games, and this swim today proves she is in good shape to try to win South Africa’s first swimming medal at the Games for women since Penny Heyns won bronze in the 100 breaststroke in 2000.

“Not only do I have the privilege of breaking Suzaan’s record but also being able to have her as a friend! God really blessed me,” Tatjana Schoenmaker said on social media.

“Thank you to everyone else who made this possible and for your endless support.”

Schoenmaker finished ahead of Kaylene Corbett, who also swam in the 2019 Worlds final with her last year, with a 2:25.74. Schoenmaker also swam the 50 breast at 30.32, which would have put her tied for 27th in 2019.

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