Day 14 of the 18th FINA World Championships in Gwangju, South Korea
Gwangju, Friday, 26th July 2019 - Swimming sensation Tatjana Schoenmaker became the first South African woman to win a medal at the FINA World Long-Course Championships finishing second in the 200m breaststroke final in Gwangju, South Korea on Friday.
Schoenmaker won the country’s second medal of the championships after Chad le Clos obtained the 200m butterfly bronze medal on Wednesday.
The 22-year-old Schoenmaker and training partner Kaylene Corbett both featured in the race which was the first time since the 2000 Sydney Olympics that two SA women swam in the same final of a major global swimming meet. The night belonged to Schoenmaker, who made history by bagging the silver medal behind defending champion Yuliya Efimova, touching in a time of two minutes, 22.52 seconds (2:22.52). Efimova won the race in an impressive 2:20.17.
“I could feel I was much more tired than yesterday, which was more relaxed, but that is no excuse. I didn’t do my best time now, but luckily I got the silver, and I am super happy. I was already happy after the semis, Schoenmaker said.”
Schoenmaker flew out of the blocks leading at the first turn before Canada’s Sydney Pickrem got her nose in front. The South African was in third place at the final turn with Efmiva opening a sizeable gap ahead of Schoenmaker and Pickrem chasing after her.
Schoenmaker managed to pull ahead of Pickrem over the final metres of the race out-touching the Canadian by 0.38s for the silver. Corbett could not be more than two seconds slower than the personal best she posted the night before finishing eighth in a time of 2:26.62. “In all honesty, I was just happy to be able to swim in the final and to be there with Tatjana taking the silver medal, I am so excited for her. All in all, the best experience ever.” Corbett said.
Le Clos will have another shot at a medal after he qualified for the 100m butterfly final with the fourth-fastest time of the semi-finals finishing second in his race clocking 51.40 seconds.
The four-time Olympic medallist will have his work cut out in the final where he will go up against American Caeleb Dressel, who set a new world record with a time of 49.50. Dressel chopped 0.32s off the global mark American icon Michael Phelps set at the 2009 World Championships.
Rio Olympic finalist Brad Tandy narrowly missed out on the spot in the 50m freestyle finals where he clocked a time of 22.24, just 0.03s off a place in the next round.
“To miss by 0.03s is a bit rough to look at, I guess I will have to learn, the morning swims are always hard, and I’ve been waiting 10 days to race, so it has been a long one,” Tandy said.
“I am not happy with the swim, and I wanted to make it through (to the semi-finals) at least,” concluded Tandy.
SA Swimming Team in Gwangju, Korea:
Alaric Basson, Michael Houlie, Chad le Clos, Aryton Sweeney, Bradley Tandy, Christopher Reid, Eben Vorster.
Emma Chelius, Kaylene Corbett, Dune Coetzee, Erin Gallagher Tayla Lovemore, Rebecca Meder, Tatjana Schoenmaker, Nathania van Niekerk, Mariella Venter.
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