Tokyo 2020, Africa Day 2: No Cap, No Problem For Tatjana Schoenmaker

2020 TOKYO SUMMER OLYMPIC GAMES

South Africa’s Tatjana Schoenmaker made headlines during the second preliminary session in Tokyo, and not solely because her cap almost came off during her heats swim in the women’s 100 breaststroke.

Schoenmaker dropped almost a second from her African Record of 1:05.74 in a scorching 1:04.82, making her the fifth-fastest performer of all-time while also breaking Lilly King‘s Olympic Record of 1:04.93 from 2016.

Schoenmaker managed to deliver this swim despite one of her caps nearly coming completely off over the course of the race. (Like many swimmers, Schoenmaker ‘double caps,’ meaning she puts one cap over her head, then puts on her goggles, then adds the second cap over the goggles.)

Moving into the semis, Schoenmaker and King were set for a head-to-head showdown after King qualified third out of the heats in 1:05.55.

The 24-year-old Schoenmaker didn’t flinch while facing King, out-splitting her on both 50s to claim the top seed for Tuesday morning’s final in 1:05.07.

And again, the cap came off.

Photo courtesy Simone Castrovillari

Already a force in the water with some extra drag, Schoenmaker has positioned herself to take a serious run at the gold medal, and if her cap manages to stay on, she may be unbeatable.

Furthermore, Schoenmaker’s 100 breast performance is a relatively big surprise, not because she’s not a household name, but because her specialty comes in the 200-meter event. Given what we’ve seen thus far, the 200 gold is well within her grasp, and maybe even the world record, which has stood since 2013.

And the last woman to complete the breaststroke double at the Olympics? None other than fellow South African Penny Heyns, who won both events back in Atlanta in 1996. Coincidentally, Heyns’ 1996 wins also mark the last time a South African woman won an Olympic gold medal, something Schoenmaker will vie for in the final.

CONTINENTAL & NATIONAL RECORDS ON DAY 2

  • Women’s 100 Breaststroke: African – Tatjana Schoenmaker, 1:04.82
  • Women’s 100 Breaststroke: South African – Tatjana Schoenmaker, 1:04.82
  • Women’s 100 Breaststroke: Mauritian – Alicia Kok Shun, 1:15.42
  • Women’s 100 Breaststroke: Cape Verdean – Jayla Pina, 1:16.96

AFRICAN MEDAL TABLE THROUGH DAY 2

SWIMSWAM NEWS – 2020 TOKYO OLYMPICS
Pool Swimming Medal Table
Nation Total Medals Gold Silver Bronze
Tunisia 1 1

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David s
2 months ago

South Africa’s only chance for a medal

WR for titmus in 200fr
Reply to  David s
2 months ago

yes, unless Le Clos swims much quicker than he did at trials

Tam
2 months ago

well done Tatjana. rooting for you!

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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