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Pretoria Duo Leads SA Medal Charge in World Aquatics Championships



World Aquatics Championships

South Africa’s breaststroke stars, Tatjana Schoenmaker and Lara van Niekerk, are set to significantly impact the upcoming swimming competition during the World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka, Japan.

Schoenmaker’s return to Japan holds special significance, as she secured Olympic gold and silver in the 200m and 100m breaststroke events in 2021. With her sights on next year’s Games in Paris, Schoenmaker aims to make a statement in the current championships.

Although the location may differ from Tokyo, Schoenmaker is thrilled about the opportunity to explore beyond the confines of the village. Viewing the event as a stepping stone and a chance to race against future Olympic competitors, she acknowledges the significance of the World Aquatics Championships in swimming.

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Returning to the World Championships for the first time since 2019, when she won a breakthrough silver medal in the 200m breaststroke, Schoenmaker expresses excitement about engaging in international competition again. Facing familiar and new competitors, she eagerly prepares for the upcoming Olympics.


Meanwhile, fellow breaststroker, Lara van Niekerk, seeks to put herself to the test once again after claiming South Africa’s sole medal at the previous World Championships in Budapest, securing bronze in the 50m breaststroke. Her double gold triumph at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham has further fueled her determination.

Acknowledging the pressure to perform, van Niekerk draws inspiration from her past achievements, recognising their potential. With experience at the international level, she has developed familiarity with the nerves associated with high-stakes races. Making friends among her competitors has added a touch of camaraderie to the competitions, making the experience all the more enjoyable.

While van Niekerk views the World Championships as a stepping stone to her first Olympics in Paris, she remains focused on performing best in Japan. The event provides valuable insights for herself and her coach to fine-tune preparations for the upcoming games.

Overall, both athletes approach the World Aquatics Championships with determination and excitement, eager to represent South Africa and make waves in the swimming world.

Source: Pretoria duo lead SA medal charge at World Aquatics Championships


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Photo: Supplied by Rekord

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