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Gold medallist Schoenmaker looks ahead after SA Championships
- Updated: April 22, 2015
One would think any swimmer who won three gold and one silver medal at last week’s national senior swimming championships in Durban should be well satisfied with their performance.
It is not as if Tatjana Schoenmaker (TuksSport High School) is unhappy with her performance, but she’s disappointed that she was unable to qualify for the Fina Worldchampionships in Kazan, Russia later this year.
‘My winning times were basically the same as the times I swam last year. I really would have loved to have swum faster this time.’
The closest Schoenmaker came to qualifying was in the 100-metre breaststroke where her winning time of 1min 08.85sec was a second slower than the qualification time of 1:07.88. It should be mentioned that Swimming South Africa has set their own qualification standards according to which swimmers are expected to swim faster times than the qualifying standards set by FINA.
Schoenmaker, the flagbearer for Team South Africa at the African Youth Games in Botswana last year, won the 200m breaststroke in 2:29.23 and was second in the 50m breaststroke in 32.45s. She was also part of the team that won the 4×100 relay in 4:12.04.
The fact that only five swimmers – Myles Brown, Cameron van der Burgh, Ayrton Sweeney, Chad le Clos and Sebastien Rousseau (all male), were able to meet the standards set by Swimming South Africa is slightly worrisome.
According to Schoenmaker, the water in the pool felt slightly cooler than in previous years. ‘I’m not sure though whether the cold water could have influenced the times we swam.’
Schoenmaker is hoping that she will still be selected for the South African team that will compete at the Junior World Championships and the Junior Commonwealth Games.
Rocco Meiring, who coached Schoenmaker last year when she broke the South African junior records in the 100m and 200m breaststroke, is of the opinion that a young swimmer like her should be allowed to reach her full potential as a swimmer in her own time.
‘South African Swimming has a history of trying to fast track talented young female swimmers to enable them to compete at the Olympic Games or a senior World Championships. Unfortunately this has led to a number of swimmers quitting before they fulfilled their potential.’
Meiring predicts that Schoenmaker will be at her best at the 2020 Games.
When asked if she has any role models Schoenmaker said: ‘I don’t strive to be like any other swimmer. I’m my own person and I want to make my own way into the international swimming arena.’
Picture by Reg Caldecott