Tatjana Schoenmaker. Picture: REUTERS/DAVID GRAY
Tatjana Schoenmaker. Picture: REUTERS/DAVID GRAY

Tatjana Schoenmaker could flirt with a world record in Pietermaritzburg on Monday after shattering her own SA 100m breaststroke mark twice at the national short-course championships on Sunday.

She exceeded her own expectations as she clocked 1 min 04.38 sec in the morning heats and then 1:03.89 in the final‚ the third-best time in a 25m pool so far in 2020.

“I was already happy with the morning swim‚” said Schoenmaker‚ who competes in her premier 200m breaststroke event on Monday.

“For the gala I just wanted to get under 1:05 and when I got 1:04 in the morning I was really happy because it didn’t feel that fast‚” said the 2019 200m breaststroke world championship silver medallist‚ a wide smile painted on her face.

“I wanted to go under 1:05 again in the final because I’ve been struggling to get my speed in that‚” added the swimmer‚ who also competed in the 200m individual medley and 200m freestyle to prepare herself for Monday’s race.

Schoenmaker‚ who owns the 2:18.20 SA 200m record‚ wants to break 2:18 on Monday‚ which she should do at a canter‚ and that would make her the 17th woman in history to achieve that.

But dipping below 1:04 in the 100m suggests she might have a tilt at the world record‚ which has sat at 2:14.57 for 11 years. If Schoenmaker can get through the first 100m in 1:05‚ she could get close.

Schoolboy Matthew Sates picked up three SA crowns in 80 minutes‚ winning the 200m IM title early in the session and then the 100m butterfly and 200m freestyle 40 minutes apart at the end.

With four wins so far at the halfway point of the four-day gala‚ he is still eyeing another six events.

“And hopefully I can get another qualifying time to make it three for the competition.”

His 50.72 in the 100m fly was a qualifying time for the world short-course championships in December 2021 — his second so far after the 400m freestyle on Saturday — though swimmers will have to repeat the times in 2021 to secure selection.

He just missed the mark in the 200m freestyle‚ falling short by 11-hundredths of a second.

“No‚ I’m not disappointed. I know that if I was just doing the 200m freestyle I would probably have got it‚” said the Grade 11 pupil.

Rebecca Meder won the women’s 200m IM in 2:09.76‚ another qualifier on the night. More importantly‚ it was a personal best by more than two seconds and lifted her to 11th on the world rankings.

“It’s big‚ it’s world standard‚” added Meder‚ who completed matric in 2019 after cramming four years of schooling into two-and-a-half‚ sacrificing all her holidays in that period.

Knysna schoolgirl Aimee Canny won the women’s 200m freestyle in a 1:56.78 personal best‚ seeing off Dune Coetzee (1:58.76)‚ Meder (1:59.46) and Schoenmaker (2:02.35).

“I was very excited. I didn’t think I had it in me.”

Erin Gallagher won the women’s 100m fly in 58.35‚ just 13-hundredths of a second off the qualifying time.


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