Tokyo Olympics

Tatjana Schoenmaker eyes Olympic breaststroke double for Team SA: 'Every swim will count'

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South African swimmer Tatjana Schoenmaker (Gallo Images)
South African swimmer Tatjana Schoenmaker (Gallo Images)
Anton Geyser/Gallo Images
  • Tatjana Schoenmaker will be a swimmer to watch as she competes in the 100m and 200m breaststroke at the Tokyo Olympics.
  • Schoenmaker is the fastest 200m breaststroke swimmer so far this year.
  • She insists that every swim will count, although she is particularly pleased that the 100m will take place first ahead of the 200m showpiece.

South African swimming star Tatjana Schoenmaker says that she'll be hoping to do well in both the 100m and 200m breaststroke at this week's Tokyo Olympics.

Schoenmaker, who will be making her Olympic debut, qualified for both breaststroke events at the SA Aquatics Championship in Gqeberha.

According to SuperSport, Schoenmaker's coach Rocco Meiring stated that the 24-year-old would primarily focus on the 200m breaststroke.

However, on Wednesday, Schoenmaker said in a telephonic interview that she was looking to do well in both.

"Every swim will count. I always wanted to do well in both," said Schoenmaker, who won gold in the 100m and 200m breaststroke at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

"Obviously, it's different types of training and some are there for the 100m, which is more of a sprint and 200m is more endurance."

Schoenmaker will get her Olympic campaign underway on Sunday in the 100m breaststroke heats from 12:00 SA time, with the 200m breaststroke heats set for next Wednesday.

"I'm very lucky that the 100m is before the 200m, just to break the ice a little and get into the racing and feel how the speed is especially going into the first 100m," said Schoenmaker.

"So it's an amazing race to start off with. I definitely want to do well in both."

Schoenmaker is currently the fastest swimmer in the women's 200m breaststroke this year with a time of 2:20.17 - a time she sealed at the SA Championships in April.

Despite facing fierce competition, including American superstar Lily King and Great Britain's Molly Renshaw, Schoenmaker is up for the challenge.

Schoenmaker doesn't want her fast time to get into her head as she eyes her first Olympic podium.

"I don't want to let it sink in, then it'll be overwhelming. I just had a great race in trials and if I can swim like that again, it'll be amazing."

*Lynn Butler is in Tokyo covering the Olympics for Sport24.

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