Tatjana Schoenmaker showed that qualifying for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games will be a breeze when she set a new African record during Swim South Africa’s Evaluation Camp Gala in Stellenbosch.
The Tuks based swimmer won the 100m-breaststroke in a record time of 1:05.89 two weeks ago in February 2021. Her previous best time was 1:06.32, which she swam in 2018. It is one of the fastest times since 2016. 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-breasstroke in 31.03s.
Breaking records seems to have become the norm for Schoenmaker since September last year. She improved the African and SA short course 200m-breaststroke on two occasions. The African and SA short course 100m-breaststroke once. The African and SA long course 50m-breaststroke once. Now she has done so over 100 metres.
Rocco Meiring (TuksSwimming head coach) is not one to make bold predictions. Still, when he talks about Schoenmaker's preparation for the Tokyo Olympics, he hints that she can be 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 build-up 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-breaststroke 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."
On the other hand, due to the COVID-19 guidelines and regulations, there will be no national championships. Each region will host each own championships. Tuks will host a gala for the Northerns regions from 16-18 April 2021.