Durban — Tatjana Schoenmaker slayed the last of Penny Heyns’s national records on Sunday as she added the 50m breaststroke SA short-course crown to her 100m and 200m titles.
She was one of eight swimmers to beat qualifying marks for the world championships in China in December on the final day of the SA trials at the King’s Park pool‚ though Douglas Erasmus was the only new face to make the list that totalled 11.
Schoenmaker‚ who took Heyns’s 50m and 100m long-course marks at the Commonwealth Games in April‚ beat the longest-standing SA record in the morning heats.
Heyns’s 30.60 had stood since 1999‚ but Schoenmaker went 30.44 in the preliminaries and then lowered it to 30.39 in the afternoon final.
"It’s an honour to do it‚" said Schoenmaker‚ who now owns five of the six senior national breaststroke records across Olympic-distance long-course and short-course.
"She [Heyns] did it without goggles. I don’t know if I would be able to do it‚" she added.
The only mark not in her hands is the 2min 18.73sec for the 200m breaststroke set by Suzaan van Biljon a decade ago‚ though Schoenmaker came desperately close during the gala‚ missing out by two-tenths of a second.
The BCom student at the University of Pretoria will surely get there‚ though it is unlikely to be at the world championships‚ which she could miss if her university exam schedule does not allow her time off.
The oldest SA record now belongs to another former Olympic gold medallist‚ Ryk Neethling‚ whose 800m freestyle short-course mark dates back to March 2000.
With only three weeks of training under his belt‚ Cameron van der Burgh trailed Brad Tandy into the second lap‚ but he powered hard to win the 50m breaststroke in 26.47.
Tandy was second in 26.66‚ also a qualifying mark.
"I’m happy with the times given the training I’ve done‚" said Van der Burgh‚ who also qualified in the 100m breaststroke. "I’ve got four months to the world champs‚ that’s a full training cycle.
"That’s what I did before Commonwealth Games and that worked out." Van der Burgh‚ 30‚ has yet to commit to the Tokyo Olympics.