Schoenmaker chalks up her third national record
SA breaststroke champion now No 2 in the global rankings as Tokyo Games nears
Tatjana Schoenmaker moved into second position on the 100m breaststroke world rankings as she chalked up her third national record on day five of the SA Invitational Aquatics Championships in Gqeberha on Sunday evening.
Schoenmaker’s time of 1 min 05.74 sec‚ which was also an African record‚ ensured the Gauteng swimmer ended her main events with a clean sweep of three gold medals along with three SA and African records.
The Commonwealth Games double gold medallist is now the second-fastest women on the planet behind 2016 Olympics 100m breaststroke champion‚ American Lilly King.
“I’ve always wanted to try and improve my 100 for the 200‚ so I think the 100 after the 200 was a bit harder than I thought it would be. But even if I didn’t swim my PB [personal best] in the 100‚ I had such a great 200 that I would have left this place with a smile anyway‚” she said.
Schoenmaker said she was oblivious to her own time as she was more concerned about fellow Gauteng swimmer Lara van Niekerk‚ who narrowly missed the qualification mark.
“When I touched‚ I tried to look where she is. When I looked at the board and realised she missed it‚ without even realising‚ I had swum my own PB.
“I cannot complain [about the 100m final]‚ compared to this morning‚ I could definitely feel all those 200s kicking in‚ so I felt much better but I think it was also the excitement of Lara maybe joining me in the 100‚” she said.
SA Olympian Chad le Clos admitted he would need to be at the peak of his powers if he wants to bring home a medal this year after claiming the 100m national butterfly title on Sunday.
Le Clos held off a determined Matt Sates of KwaZulu-Natal as he finished the sprint in 52.13‚ two-hundredths of a second ahead of Sates‚ who finished with a 52.15.
While satisfied with his performance‚ the Rio 2016 silver medallist was full of praise for the fight shown by the promising young swimmer. “I’m happy [about the win] but sad for Matt because he didn’t get the time. I expected it to be really tough out there because he is in great shape.
“I wanted to control the race better. I wanted to take it to him in the first 50m but I think he touched ahead of me and I knew I had some work to do.
“It is a morale-boosting win for me because of where we are in the training‚ to pull out a win like that‚ the old Chad‚ coming from behind to win‚” he said.
Gqeberha’s Alaric Basson could not improve on his morning PB when he claimed the gold in the men’s 100m breaststroke final with a time of 1:01.29 while KwaZulu-Natal’s Erin Gallagher took gold in the women’s race.
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