Chad le Clos tips Tatjana Schoenmaker to star on Olympic debut

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Tatjana Schoenmaker
Tatjana Schoenmaker
Ed JONES / AFP
  • South African swimmer Chad le Clos believes Tatjana Schoenmaker will win an Olympic medal at this year's rescheduled Tokyo Games.
  • Schoenmaker is expected to make her debut appearance at the Olympics in July. 
  • Le Clos hailed the "fantastic" Schoenmaker as he looks at the swimming talent in South Africa.

Olympic medalist Chad le Clos has tipped fellow swimming sensation Tatjana Schoenmaker to go for gold at this year's Tokyo Games.

Schoenmaker is set to make her Olympic debut if she qualifies for April's Olympic trials.

The 23-year-old breaststroke swimmer rose to prominence at the 2018 Commonwealth Games at the Gold Coast where she picked up two gold medals in the 100m and 200m breaststroke.

In 2019, Schoenmaker became the first South African female swimmer to win a medal at a FINA World Championships when she took silver in the 200m breaststroke in Gwangju.

Leading up to this year's rescheduled Tokyo Olympics, it seems like Le Clos will shoulder South Africa's medal tally in the pool following the retirement of Cameron van der Burgh.

However, speaking to Sport24, Le Clos reckons that Schoenmaker could find herself on the podium come July.

"I feel very strongly about Tatjana, she is a fantastic swimmer," said Le Clos, who has an Olympic gold and three silver medals.

"I think she's such a great athlete, she can really go all the way for us."

If Schoenmaker succeeds, she'll be the first South African female swimmer to win an Olympic medal since Penny Heyns' bronze at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

Le Clos, who has been training for the Olympics in Durban, noted that he has been impressed by a young swimming duo.

"There are two youngsters, who I'm training with now, Ethan du Preez from Cape Town and Matthew Sates. They are both 17 and are fantastic," said Le Clos.

"They're great humble boys, they work extremely hard, they are a hell of a few years ahead of where I was at 17.

"They working really well and I hope they qualify and get that experience. For the future, those are definitely going to be the boys to look out for," continued Le Clos.

"Ayrton Sweeney is also training with us. It's just great to see that but there are tons of other great swimmers around South Africa, I don't know all of them, I only know the ones I train with but I'm sure there'll be someone to watch for." 

The Tokyo Olympics is scheduled to run from 24 July to 8 August.

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