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2018 African Female Swimmer of the Year: Tatjana Schoenmaker, South Africa
Tatjana Schoenmaker rewrote the African record books in the breaststroke in 2018.
First, at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia, Schoenmaker put up a 30.82 in the women’s 50m breaststroke final. Though her effort was only good enough for 4th place, she still reset the African record in the race, ranking 22nd in the world for all of 2018.
The day after the 50, Shoenmaker won the women’s 200m breaststroke in a time of 2:22.02, touching over a second ahead of runner-up Molly Renshaw from England. Schoenmaker’s time established a new African Record in the women’s 200m breaststroke, and held up as the 4th-fastest time of 2018.
Schoenmaker established herself as the top breastroker of the Commonwealth Games with another victory in the 100m breast, touching in a 1:06.41, edging out Canada’s Kierra Smith who took silver in 1:07.05. With her swim in the finals of the 100, Schoenmaker established her third African continental record of the meet, and the 10th-fastest time of all of 2018.
In no specific order
- Erin Gallagher (South Africa): At the Commonwealth Games in May, Gallagher placed 5th in the 100m freestyle in a time of 54.23, establishing new South African National and African Continental records in the process. Gallagher also placed 5th in the women’s 50m freestyle final in a time of 25.03, equaling her time from the semifinals, when she broke the South African record in the 50. Gallagher continued to break records in the short course pool as the year drew to a close. At the 2018 FINA Short Course World Championships in Hangzhou, China, Gallagher broke the South African National and African Continental records in the 100m freestyle, producing a 53.09 in prelims and a 52.70 in semifinals. In the finals, Gallagher ultimately placed 8th in a time of 53.14. Gallagher set the same aforementioned records in the 50 SCM freestyle in Hangzhou, putting up a 24.38 in semifinals. Gallagher also had an impressive showing at the African (CANA) Swimming and Open Water Championships (LCM), where she won gold in the women’s 100m freestyle (54.79), gold in the 50m backstroke (29.04), gold in the women’s 4 x 100m freestyle relay (split 54.76), gold in the women’s 4 x 100m medley relay (butterfly split 58.55), silver in the 50m butterfly (26.64), silver in the mixed 4 x 100m freestyle relay (split 55.02), silver in the 100m butterfly (1:00.45), and silver in the 50m freestyle (25.17).
- Tayla Lovemore (South Africa): Recent Florida State graduate Tayla Lovemore lit up the World Cup with some particularly impressive racing in Singapore. There, Lovemore broke the African Records in the 50m fly (25.54) and the South African National Record in the 100m IM (1:00.30). Lovemore’s time in the 50 fly was good enough for silver behind World Record holder Sarah Sjostrom, a feat she would duplicate in the 100 fly, though she would miss both aforementioned records in that event by 3/10ths.
- Farida Osman (Egypt): Osman had a great performance at the African Championships, where she took home a silver medal in the 100m freestyle (56.80), gold in the 50m fly (26.16), gold in the mixed 4 x 100m freestyle relay (split 56.58), silver in the women’s 4 x 100m freestyle relay (split 55.20), gold in the 100m butterfly (59.03), gold in the 50m freestyle (25.11), gold in the mixed 4 x 100m medley relay (fly split 1:00.31), and silver in the women’s 4 x 100m medley relay (fly split 59.41). At the Mediterranean Games in Spain, Osman won both the women’s 50 fly (25.48) and 50 freestyle (24.83), and a silver in the 100 fly (58.51).