Tatjana Schoenmaker laid down a world-class marker as she clocked the fastest time in the 200m breaststroke heats at the Commonwealth Games on Sunday morning.
The Olympic champion’s 2 min 21.76 sec effort was more than three seconds quicker than her nearest competitor, Jenna Strauch of Australia who finished second behind her in 2:24.97.
But more impressively is that her time was the third-fastest in the world so far this year, behind only two Americans including Lilly King, who posted the 2:21.19 world lead at the US trials in April.
Schoenmaker, owner of the 2:18.95 world record, looked completely comfortable and yet she sailed past the 2:22.41 King swam to win the world title in Budapest last month.
The 25-year-old Schoenmaker opted to skip the global gala to focus on the Birmingham showpiece.
It was a move that raised a few eyebrows, but Schoenmaker has justified her decision, showing she is the overwhelming favourite going into the final on Sunday night (9.20pm).
England’s Molly Renshaw won the other heat in 2:25.06, out-touching Schoenmaker’s stablemate Kaylene Corbett (2:25.08) to go into the final seeded third.
Newly crowned 100m backstroke champion Pieter Coetzé showed his intent in the 50m backstroke heats, laying down the fastest morning time in that event.
He went 24.95, with New Zealand’s Andrew Jeffcoat delivering the second-best time, 25.04
Chad le Clos, with 17 career medals from three previous Games, was second-fastest in the 200m butterfly, finishing behind New Zealand’s new Games 400m individual medley champion Lewis Clareburt.
Clareburt touched in 1:56.76 and Le Clos, who needs one more medal to equal the all-time haul of 18 Games medals, clocked 1:56.85.
But the final (at 8.28pm) will feature a few other rivals, including 200m freestyle king Duncan Scott, the third-quickest of the morning in 1:57.48.
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