2020 Swammy Awards: Female African Swimmer of the Year – Tatjana Schoenmaker


For the third year in a row, the Swammy for African Female Swimmer of the Year goes to South Africa’s Tatjana Schoenmaker. Despite a year full of lockdowns and cancellations in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Tatjana Schoenmaker managed to lower 4 out of 6 South African records in the women’s breaststroke events, 3/6 of which were also African records.

Her first short course record of the year came in the 200 breaststroke when she downed Suzaan Van Biljon’s record’s previous mark of 2:18.73 from 2008. Having already broken the 12-year-old record, Schoenmaker wasn’t done with swim yet. She went on to lower it by another 0.18 when she hit a 2:18.02 at the 2020 South African Short Course Champs in October of 2020.

The 200 breast, however, was but one of Schoenmaker’s 3 breaststroke NRs of that meet. Schoenmaker came away with gold medals and a new South African record in 50, 100, and 200.

In the 50 breast, Schoenmaker swam a 30.20, more than a second ahead of second-place finisher Caitlin De Lange’s 31.62. That time was fast enough to beat her own 2018 SA record in the event of 30.39.

In the 100 breast, Schoenmaker entered the meet with a previous best and South African record of 1:05.12. She took nearly a second off that time in the prelims with a 1:04.38 and went on to hit a 1:03.89 in the finals, shattering the original mark.

Schoenmaker was originally lined up to swim in the International Swimming League this season as a member of Hungary based team Iron. She backed out before the season began but her top times from the year would have certainly fared well in the league. In both the 100 and 200 short course breaststroke, she would have been the 6th and 7th fastest, respectively this season.

100 Breast World Rankings 2020

  1. Lilly King – 1:02.50 (Finale)
  2. Alia Atkinson – 1:02.66 (Semifinal 1)
  3. Benedetta Pilato – 1:03.55 (Semifinal 1)
  4. Molly Hannis – 1:03.57 (Finale)
  5. Annie Lazor – 1:03.69 (Finale)
  6. Tajana Schoenmaker – 1:03.89 (SA National SC Champs)
  7. Emily Escobedo – 1:04.31 (Semi Final 1)
  8. Ida Hulkko – 1:04.41 (Match 7)

200 Breast World Rankings 2020

  1. Lilly King – 2:15.56 (Finale)
  2. Annie Lazor – 2:16.33 (Finale)
  3. Emily Escobedo – 2:16.51 (Match 8)
  4. Kelsey Wog – 2:17.13 (Match 7)
  5. Sydney Pickrem – 2:17.75 (Finale)
  6. Molly Renshaw – 2:17.80 (Semifinal 1)
  7. Tatjana Schoenmaker – 2:18.02 (SA National SC Champs)
  8. Sakiko Shimizu – 2:18.37 – (Semifinal 1)

As every swim quicker than her comes from the ISL, Schoenmaker hit the fastest times in both the 100 and 200 breast from outside the ISL this year.

Had she swam her 1:03.89 or 2:18.02 at the meets which Iron raced in, she would have won the 100 breast at Match 2, Match 7, Match 9, and the 200 breast at Match 9.

Adding to her four short course South African records this year, Schoenmaker closed out 2020 with a long course record in the 50 breaststroke. She swam a 30.52 at the 2020 NTS Championships to beat her 30.82 NR from her 4th place finish at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. That swim was the 7th fastest in the event worldwide this year.

  1. Benedetta Pilato – 29.85 (Sette Colli)
  2. Ida Hulkko – 30.33 (Tampereen Avoimet Mestaruusunnit)
  3. Molly Hannis – 30.34 (FINA Swim Series)
  4. Martina Carraro – 30.38 (FINA Swim Series)
  5. Alia Atkinson – 30.44 (FINA Swim Series)
  6. Arianna Castiglioni – 30.47 (Sette Colli)
  7. Tatjana Schoenmaker – 30.52 (NTS Championships)

Shoenmaker’s 50 breaststroke short course, and 100 and 200 long course South African records were both also new continental records, making her the fastest-ever African woman to swim those events. Her only NR this year which wasn’t an African Record as well was the short course 50 breast which currently sits at a 30.11 from Achiengs Ajulu-Bushell from 2009.


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ihate myself
2 years ago

I think you guys should find a more flattering picture.