Tatjana Schoenmaker will have to strike a balance between her studies and swimming commitments in 2019. Photo by Reg Caldecott
The princess of South African swimming, Tatjana Schoenmaker, will have to strike a delicate balance between her studies and swimming commitments as she builds up to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
The Commonwealth Games 100m and 200m breaststroke gold medalist will have a busy year ahead as she looks to finish her BCom degree at the end of 2019.She will have to complete a juggling act as she chases faster times, and she may feature in her first FINA World Championships in the long-course format, which would be a true gauge of her potential by giving her a chance to swim against the best on the planet. Schoenmaker, who was named as the UP-Tuks Sportswoman of the Year over the weekend, said the Commonwealth Games had instilled confidence in her to challenge the best in the world. “During the Commonwealth Games, I had no idea of what the other swimmers had achieved,” Schoenmaker said. “It was only afterwards that I found out that some had competed in Olympic finals. “Whenever I look at the photos taken during the Commonwealth Games of winning the 100m and 200m breaststroke events, I get motivated all over again. I really want to win at least one more major medal.” There was double delight on Friday evening for Schoenmaker and her mentor Rocco Meiring, who was named UP-Tuks’ best coach in individual sports. Meiring said they would be looking to build his charge’s base over the next year as they aimed to ensure she was a medal contender come 2020. “Tatjana and I still have to finalise what our plans for next year are going to be,” Meiring said. “If I had my way, the main focus would be on volume training, and volume training does not mean I am going to increase her workload in the pool. She is already putting in the long, hard hours.” He reiterated that their goal was to make Schoenmaker competitive on the global stage. They were looking to produce consistently fast times that were well below the proposed Olympic qualifying times of 1:07.07 in the 100m and 2:25.52 in the 200m event. “Every time Tatjana will be competing internationally her goal will be to swim times faster than the qualification standards set by FINA,” Meiring said. “At the moment it means that in the 100m breaststroke she will have to swim faster than 1:07.70, and in the 200m breaststroke she must go faster than 2:25.22. If she is not able to do so, it means the training we are doing is wrong, and I will have to make some adjustments. “The reality is if Tatjana is able to swim these times, anything is possible. She might medal wherever she is competing internationally. However, if she does not, it won’t be the end of the world.” Schoenmaker was unlikely to feature at the FINA World Short-Course Championships in Hangzhou, China in December, despite qualifying for the 50m, 100m, and 200m breaststroke events.