Tokyo Olympics

Le Clos hails 'phenomenal' Schoenmaker after silver medal: 'She deserves all the credit'

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South African swimmer Tatjana Schoenmaker
South African swimmer Tatjana Schoenmaker
Anton Geyser/SASPA/SASI

Star swimmer Chad le Clos hailed fellow South African Tatjana Schoenmaker after winning the country's first medal at the Tokyo Olympics on Tuesday.

Schoenmaker claimed silver in the women's 100m breaststroke final - touching the wall in a time of 1:05.22 - as 17-year-old Lydia Jacoby took gold (1:04.95).

It was a historic achievement for Schoenmaker as she became the first South African female swimmer in 21 years to win an Olympic medal.

Soon after doing all her press interviews, Schoenmaker stayed behind in the room with journalists to watch Le Clos swim in his 200m butterfly semi-final.

Le Clos, who scraped into the semi-finals after qualifying 16th in the heats, did not leave anything to chance on Tuesday as he won his semi-final in a time of 1:55.06.

After qualifying third fastest for the final, Le Clos came down to the press zone, relieved to make the final. When asked on Schoenmaker's heroics, Le Clos had nothing but praise.

"It's incredible, we shouldn't be too hard on her, she's such a champion and deserves all the credit," said Le Clos, who is South Africa's most decorated Olympian of all-time.

"She put herself out there, she wasn't even ranked to medal in that breaststroke event."

Le Clos believes that Schoenmaker will pick up her second medal in the women's 200m breaststroke with the heats scheduled to get under way on Wednesday ( SA time)

"The 200m is hers for sure. It was a phenomenal silver medal, she deserves a lot of credit for it. Just phenomenal."

Le Clos will now prepare for the 200m butterfly final on Wednesday (0 SA time).

*Lynn Butler is in Tokyo covering the Olympic Games for Sport24

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