Having established her place as the queen of South African swimming, Tatjana Schoenmaker lived up to the hype last week, raking in three gold medals and breaking two records at the SA National Short-Course Swimming Championships, held in Durban between Thursday and Sunday (9-12 August, 2018).
One of 11 South African swimmers who posted qualifying times for the Fina World Short-Course Championships to be held in Hangzhou China in December, Schoenmaker was one of the most successful participants at the domestic spectacle, which was contested in a 25-metre pool.
The 21-year-old University of Pretoria student, who won double gold at the Commonwealth Games on Australia's Gold Coast in April, earned three titles in her specialist stroke, dominating the women's 50m, 100m and 200m breaststroke finals and achieving the required qualifying times for the global championships in all three events.
Though Schoenmaker shone over all three distances, it was in the 100m final that she stole the show, completing the four-length race in 1:05.12 to set a new African record.
In the 50m sprint, Schoenmaker touched the wall in 30.44 seconds in the morning heats to clip 0.16 off the 19-year-old South African record held by breaststroke legend Penny Heyns, and she went even quicker in the final, stopping the clock at 30.39.
While she did not set a record in the 200m final, Schoenmaker completed the race in 2:18.93, again flaunting her spectacular form as she narrowly missed the 10-year-old African mark of 2:18.73 held by Suzaan van Biljon.
Sticking her hand up among the potential medal contenders, Schoenmaker was set to spearhead the SA women's team in search of podium places at the biennial World Short-Course Championships.
"Congrats to Tatjana on her latest string of superb performances in the pool," said Peet van Zyl of In-Site Athlete Management.
"She has proved herself to be one of the most exciting young talents in South African swimming, and we wish her all the best as she prepares to take on the world at the highest level of the sport."