South African swimmer Tatjana Schoenmaker
Anton Geyser/Gallo Images
Tatjana Schoenmaker is hoping to make history at this week’s Tokyo Olympics.
A lot is expected from Schoenmaker in Japan, despite the 24-year-old competing in her Olympic debut.
She is looking to become South Africa’s first women’s swimmer to win an Olympic medal since Penny Heyns’ bronze at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
Schoenmaker rose to prominence at the 2018 Commonwealth Games at the Gold Coast, where she picked up two gold medals in the 100m and 200m breaststroke.
In 2019, she became the first South African female swimmer to win a medal at a FINA World Championships when she took silver in the 200m breaststroke.
Schoenmaker secured her Olympic qualifications in both the 100m and 200m breaststroke at April’s SA Aquatics Championships.
In the 200m breaststroke in Gqeberha, Schoenmaker won in emphatic style as she broke the African record with a time of 2:20.17.
Schoenmaker also broke a 50m breaststroke African record at Newton Park, lowering the national and African record to 30.32 seconds. (The 50m breaststroke is not an Olympic event)
Looking ahead at this week’s Games, Schoenmaker is a favourite for a podium finish in the 200m breaststroke.
While Schoenmaker will also compete in the 100m breaststroke, she’ll have a tough competition to overcome with American Lilly King expected to dominate.
Schoenmaker will get her Olympic campaign under way on Sunday in the 100m breaststroke heats.