Tatjana Schoenmaker Breaks the Ice With 2:18.95 200 Breast World Record


Tatjana Schoenmaker has delivered a new world record in the women’s 200 breaststroke, hitting a 2:18.95 to take gold at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Schoenmaker’s swim is an improvement upon the former mark of 2:19.11 set by Denmark’s Rikke Moller Pedersen at the 2013 World Championships.

Split Comparisons

Schoenmaker – Tokyo 2020 Pedersen – Barcelona 2013
50 31.64 31.80
100 1:07.06 (35.42) 1:07.27 (35.47)
150 1:42.48 (35.42) 1:42.89 (35.62)
200 2:18.95 (36.47) 2:19.11 (36.22)

Schoenmaker becomes the first woman to swim under 2:19 in the events and has collected South Africa’s first Olympic medal in swimming since 1996 when Penny Heyns topped the podium in the 100 and 200 breaststrokes with a 1:07.73 and 200 breaststroke with a 2:25.41 Olympic record.

Schoenmaker’s 3 swims at the Tokyo Olympic Games of 2:19.11 in the prelims, 2:19.33 in the semi-finals and 2:18.95 give her the 1st, 3rd, and 4th fastest swims in the history of the 200 breaststroke.

All-Time Performances (Sub-2:20), Women’s 200 Breaststroke (LCM)

  1. Tatjana Schoenmaker (RSA), 2:18.95 – 2021
  2. Rikke Moeller Pedersen (DEN), 2:19.11 – 2013
  3. Tatjana Schoenmaker (RSA), 2:19.16 – 2021
  4. Tatjana Schoenmaker (RSA), 2:19.33 – 2021
  5. Yuliya Efimova (RUS), 2:19.41 – 2013
  6. Rebecca Soni (USA), 2:19.59 – 2012
  7. Rikke Moeller Pedersen (DEN), 2:19.61 – 2014
  8. Viktoriya Zeynep Gunes (TUR) / Yuliya Efimova (RUS), 2:19.64 – 2015/2017
  9. Rie Kaneto (JPN), 2:19.65 – 2016
  10. Rikke Moeller Pedersen (DEN), 2:19.67 – 2014
  11. Yuliya Efimova (RUS), 2:19.83 – 2017
  12. Rikke Moeller Pedersen (DEN), 2:19.84 – 2014
  13. Yuliya Efimova (RUS), 2:19.85 – 2013
  14. Lilly King (USA) – 2:19.92 – 2021

Lilly King of the USA got onto the podium behind Schoenmaker with a 2:19.92 PB which marks the 15th fastest swim of all time while teammate Annie Lazor followed in a 2:20.84 for bronze. Russian swimmer Evgeniia Chikunova followed with a 2:20.84 for 4th place and Schoenmaker’s fellow South African swimmer Kaylene Corbett was a 2:22.06 for 5th place.

What makes this swim for Schoenmaker even more incredible is that 5 years ago South Africa sent 0 women to the Olympic Games for swimming while sending 11 men to race individually. Schoenmaker’s best time in the 200 breaststroke at the time of Rio 2016 Olympics was a 2:27.79 in the 200 breaststroke which means that she’s improved by nearly 10 seconds over the past 10 years.

By 2021, South Africa had qualified 6 women to swim at the Tokyo Olympics individually along with another 2 women who represented the nation on the 4×200 freestyle.

Tokyo 2020 South African Olympic Swimming Roster – Women

Athlete Event
Emma Chelius 50 m freestyle
Kaylene Corbett 200 m breaststroke
Erin Gallagher 100 m freestyle
Rebecca Meder 200 m individual medley
Tatjana Schoenmaker 100 m breaststroke
200 m breaststroke
Michelle Weber 10 km open water
Aimee Canny
Duné Coetzee
Erin Gallagher
Rebecca Meder
4 × 200 m freestyle relay

Schoenmaker led the women’s team into the Games as 5th seed in the women’s 100 breaststroke with a 1:05.74 and top seed in the women’s 200 breast with her 2:20.17 swim from April 2021. Schoenmaker made her Olympic appearance count and made her onto 2 podiums with a 1:05.22 for silver in the 100, followed by this 2:18.95 for gold in the 200. Despite the fact that America’s Lydia Jacoby defeated Schoenmaker in the 100 breast final, Schoenmaker swam the fastest 100 breaststroke of the Games with a 1:04.82 Olympic record in the semis.

To summarize, after sending 0 women to the Olympics for swimming in 2016, South Africa’s Tatjana Schoenmaker will walk away from Tokyo 2020 with an Olympic silver medal, an Olympic gold medal, 2 Olympic records, and a world record. Schoenmaker’s swims also make her the South African and Commonwealth record holder in both the 100 and 200 breaststroke.

Schoenmaker has become the first swimmer to break an individual world record at the Tokyo Games and broke the 3rd world record overall, following the Australian women in the 4×100 freestyle and the Chinese women in the 4×200 freestyle. Schoenmaker is now the only thing that stopped the Tokyo 2020 Olympics from featuring no individual world records which would have been the first time that occurred since 1952.

Even with 3 world records between Schoenmaker, Australia, and China, Tokyo 2020 is on track to see a lot fewer world records than have been seen in past editions of the Games.

World Record trends at recent Olympic Games:

  • Tokyo 2020 – 3 (so far)
  • Rio 2016 – 8
  • London 2012 – 9
  • Beijing 2008 – 24*
  • Athens 2004 – 8
  • Sydney 2000 – 14

*In 2008, special suits made partially of polyurethane were allowed, leading to a rush of World Records. This would continue through the end of 2009 when the suits were outlawed.


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Nadine Waddell
1 year ago

Amazing Swim!!! Amazing young lady! Great mentor and coach Rocco!!! Blessings….💫⭐️🌈🙏

Jake From State Farm
1 year ago

Do you think the broom Lily King brought because she believed the U.S. was going to sweep all the gold medals, will be used to clean up the mess the American women, outside of Miss Ledecky and Miss Jacoby, have made at these Games?

Reply to  Jake From State Farm
1 year ago

Not sure how I feel about this extended metaphor

Reply to  Jake From State Farm
1 year ago

People keep misquoting King. She never said they’ll win all golds: she said that they have a chance to if they have a spectacular meet (in simpler terms, the US women have a gold medal contender in each event)

Reply to  deob
1 year ago

It’s weird how everyone’s making such a big deal out of this. What was she supposed to say? “No my teammates suck”?

Reply to  Gus
1 year ago

Surely you can think of an answer somewhere between we can win all the golds and we suck?

Steve Nolan
Reply to  deob
1 year ago

And Gary Hall Jr said a lot of other stuff that was fairly deferential to the Australian relay when he mentioned smashing guitars, but you never really hear the full context.

That’s just how….everything works.

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Nolan
Reply to  Jake From State Farm
1 year ago

Bad joke, terrible username.

1 year ago

It’s so wierd seeing 2:18 on the screen!

1 year ago

Isn’t it 3 world records now? (Women’s 4×1, Women’s 4×2, Women’s 2breast)

Last edited 1 year ago by BadShoulder
Reply to  BadShoulder
1 year ago


Reply to  Haha
1 year ago

it says “Tokyo 2020 – 2 (so far)” in the list at the end, probably copy pasted from a recent article

Last edited 1 year ago by jeff
1 year ago

Who would have predicted the one individual WR at this point would be Schoenmaker!

Reply to  Jackman
1 year ago


Reply to  Jackman
1 year ago

By the looks of it, not even Schoenmaker!

The RSA/USA group hug at the end was cool to see.