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Swimming

Tatjana, Kaylene deliver world champ times, but focus is Commonwealth

08 April 2022 - 13:19
Tatjana Schoenmaker in action in the 200m breaststroke heats at Newton Park pool in Gqeberha on Friday morning.
Tatjana Schoenmaker in action in the 200m breaststroke heats at Newton Park pool in Gqeberha on Friday morning.
Image: SUPPLIED

Olympic champion Tatjana Schoenmaker and training partner Kaylene Corbett comfortably achieved world championship qualifying times in the 200m breaststroke heats in Gqeberha on Friday morning. 

Schoenmaker, holder of the 2min 18.95sec world record, won her heat in 2:25.16 at the Newton Park pool and Corbett, fifth at the Tokyo Games, was first in her eliminator in 2:25.41. 

The qualifying time for the Budapest showpiece that runs from June 18-25 is 2:25.91. 

“It’s OK,” said Schoenmaker. “We always peak for worlds and Commonwealth Games. I’m just trying to make the team and we’ll do hopefully better when we’re there.”

This year Schoenmaker and Corbett have decided to prioritise the Games in Birmingham from July 28 to August 8, opting not to compete at the world championships.

“I think about a couple of days ago I wasn’t really sure what was going to happen going into this race,” said Corbett. “I’m happy it’s over and I get to hopefully be on the Commonwealth team. That’s always a huge plus side for me — to race and compete for my country.”

Last year Corbett missed the Olympic qualifying in the official 200m races at the national gala, achieving it on her own in a time trial. 

“Last year I learnt a lot about swimming heats and finals and not making the time and then swimming all by myself and making the time,” said Corbett, who went on to set a 2:22.06 best in Tokyo. “It’s a lot of emotions being back in this pool and swimming that time now means a lot to me.” 

Schoenmaker set a 2:20.17 African record in 2021, but there’s no premium on times this early in the season in a non-Olympic year.

Ethan du Preez was fastest in the men's 200m butterfly heats, touching the wall in 1:59.90. Chad le Clos was fourth-quickest overall in 2:02.12. They will be chasing the 1:56.71 qualifying time in the evening.

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