Van Niekerk Becomes First South African Woman Under 30 Seconds In SCM 50 Breast


  • Wednesday, September 15th – Sunday, September 19th
  • GC Jolliffe Pool, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
  • SCM (25m)
  • Results (when available)/Meet Mobile

The 2021 South African Short Course Championships kicked off today in Pietermartizburg and already we have seen a national record bite the dust.

18-year-old Lara Van Niekerk threw down a massive time of 29.85 to take the gold in the women’s 50m breaststroke, becoming the first South African woman ever to delve under 30 seconds in the process.

Entering this meet, Van Niekerk’s personal best rested at the 30.85 she scored this past May, while Tatjana Schoenmaker held the South African record in 30.20. Schoenmaker was one of the standout Olympians this past summer in Tokyo, reaping 100m breast silver but topping the women’s 200m breast podium in a new World Record-setting effort.

Van Niekerk, who qualified for the Short Course World Championships with her performance, said post-race, “We were just trying to break the 30-second barrier but I didn’t expect to break it by this much so I’m very surprised and super-happy.

Referring to Schoenmaker as an inspiration, “She’s such a big role model of mine. I’ve looked up to her since I was small, always swimming against her. I’ve always wanted to be like her, she’s just amazing.

“I’m very happy. I’ve always loved the 50 and I know the 50 isn’t her strong suit – she’s more the 200 and 100 but I don’t have words to be honest.”

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Awsi Dooger
1 month ago

I guess she is not related to Wayde, otherwise that seemingly would have been mentioned

About Retta Race

Retta Race

Swim analyst, businesswoman.

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