Tatjana Schoenmaker (TuksSwimming) surprised herself yesterday during the trials for the South African Shortcourse Championships by setting an Africa as well as a new national record in the 200m breaststroke.
She won in a time of 2:18.20 at the Curro College Hazeldean. Her winning time is 0.53s faster than the record set by Suzaan van Biljon during the 2008 Short Course World Championships in Manchester. The former Tuks swimmer swam 2:18.73.
"Surprised and happy," is how Schoenmaker described her performance.
Going for a record was apparently not on the cards. Schoenmaker had to stick to the instructions of her coach Rocco Meiring. It meant that she did not really overexert herself over the first 100 metres.
Schoenmaker's heroics mean she now can boast with a "full house". She also holds the short course records (25 metres) in the 50m as well as 100m breaststroke events. The Tuks swimmer's talent for breaking records is not restricted to short course galas. She is equally competitive over 50 metres having set national records in all three the long course (50 metres) events.
It is quite a unique feat. Schoenmaker is possibly one of only a few South African swimmers to ever hold all six national records in one specific event at the same time.
Five of the six Africa breaststroke records are also due to Schoenmaker's heroic exploits. The 50m short course breaststroke is the only record she has not yet claimed. Kenya's Achieng Ajulu-Bushell swam a time of 30.11s in 2009 during a Grand Prix-gala in Britain.
Meiring (TuksSwimming head coach) said he was precise in what he expected from Schoenmaker.
"I wanted to see how fast Tatjana can swim the second 100 metres. So I told her to swim the first 100 metres on a slow stroke count. We only afterwards realised that she had set a record. It is unusual for, a national and continental record of this level to get broken at altitude in a school pool in good old Pretoria of all places."
According to Meiring swimming times at altitude tends to be near a second slower in all events longer than 100 metres.