WATCH | Tatjana Schoenmaker describes the moment she realised she set a world record
Minister of sport Nathi Mthethwa has lavished praise on SA swimming sensation Tatjana Schoenmaker after she smashed the women’s 200m butterfly world record on her way to a gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics.
Schoenmaker scooped SA’s first gold medal of the games in a world record-breaking time of 2 min 18.95 sec beating the previous record of 2:19.11 that was set by Denmark’s Rikke Moller Pedersen in 2013.
In a video conversation released by the department of sport on Friday afternoon‚ a visibly excited Mthethwa congratulated Schoenmaker‚ who also took the Olympic 100m breaststroke silver on Tuesday.
South Africa's Sports Minister Nathi Mthethwa congratulates SA Olympic gold medalist Tatjana Schoenmaker, who claim a Tokyo 2020 gold in the women's 200m breaststroke final and set a world record on Thursday, July 29 2021.
An equally excited Schoenmaker described to Mthethwa how‚ at the end of the race on Friday she at first only registered that she had a good time‚ and only on closer inspection realised it was a world record.
“I just focused on my own race‚ I just wanted to try to get as close to my times as possible so that even if it [the world record] didn’t happen I would be happy with my times that I had swum‚” she said.
“The other girl in the outside was going really fast and in the last turn we looked at each other under water and‚ were like‚ ‘OK‚ now it’s the last 50m and we have to give it everything’.
“I was lucky because just before I touched the wall I saw that I was in front. So I didn’t even look back to the board yet‚ because it was so amazing and I knew that I had won.
“And then the first time I looked at my times I saw 2:19‚ and I was very happy with that because I got into my time. And then you can obviously see my reaction when I looked again and I realise that wasn’t [just] my time. So‚ ja‚ I was very happy.”
Mthethwa told Schoenmaker the whole country will be waiting for her when she comes back to SA.
“You have shown the world that South Africans are real winners. You are an example of that‚ you are an ambassador for our country and setting two world records is no small feat‚ and we are happy‚” Mthethwa said.
“The country is waiting for you are we are indeed proud‚ and I am happy to see a woman taking the lead to show that women can do it.”