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Swimming teammates take on the world – in Afrikaans

by ZwemZa on August 23rd, 2019

GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA – APRIL 07: Tatjana Schoenmaker of South Africa celebrates with team mate Kaylene Corbett of South Africa after the Women’s 200m Breaststroke Final on day 3 of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games at Gold Coast Aquatic Centre on April 07, 2018 in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Roger Sedres/Gallo Images)

Tatjana Schoenmaker and her Tuks teammate Kaylene Corbett found a novel way to relieve tension before big races on their recent sojourn to the world championships and World Student Games — joking with each other in Afrikaans.

The call room‚ where swimmers gather before walking onto pool deck for each race‚ can be an intimidating and lonely place.

But with Schoenmaker and Corbett swimming the 200m breaststroke together at both galas‚ they were able to break that monotony somewhat‚ cracking a few jokes to each other in Afrikaans and enjoying a couple of laughs while their rivals looked on.

“We obviously don’t have massive conversations‚” said Schoenmaker. “We still try and focus on what we’re there for and what we’re going to be doing.

“It’s always so nice having someone in the call room‚ you’re just not sitting there by yourself. You can turn to the person and have a quick little laugh before you go in.”

"Don't be fooled by that sweet smile. She's tough," Tatjana Schoenmaker's coach Rocco Meiring once said about her.

“Don’t be fooled by that sweet smile. She’s tough,” Tatjana Schoenmaker’s coach Rocco Meiring once said about her.
Image: Getty Images

Schoenmaker‚ who also competed in the 100m breaststroke‚ had another interesting moment in the call room‚ like watching one rival doing press-ups at the world championships.

“It’s interesting to see what each swimmer does to prepare themselves for what they feel works for them‚” she said‚ but admitted she was surprised by her one competitor doing press-ups.

“I was thinking‚ ‘okay‚ aren’t you making yourself a bit tired?’”

Schoenmaker‚ who won the 100m and 200m titles at the World Student Games in early July‚ became SA’s first woman swimmer to win a world championship medal‚ taking silver in the 200m.

Corbett was eighth in that race.

Schoenmaker finished sixth in the 100m final‚ although the personal best she clocked at the Universiade a couple of weeks earlier would have got her bronze.

But she wasn’t fazed. “Every single race I went into I did my best. I told myself you can only give your best‚ there’s nothing else you can do.

“I was sixth and I was happy. I made the final. I didn’t expect to make the final. I went to world champs for the experience‚ to race the best and see how my nerves are when I do.”

Kaylene Corbett full of smiles after one of her best performances.

Kaylene Corbett full of smiles after one of her best performances.
Image: Roger Sedres/Gallo Images

She also went to the opening gala of the World Cup series in Tokyo‚ again winning the double.

Schoenmaker got to see the outside of the Olympic swimming venue‚ which was still being built. But she felt nothing particularly special.

“I’m just excited to be part of Tokyo — if I do go — and to race some of the girls that I already know and then others that I don’t. It’s always a nice challenge when you see new faces. I don’t think anyone expected me to do anything.”

And she’s placing no medal expectations on herself‚ pointing out that she’s not in the top three of the world rankings.

She is fifth in both the 100m and the 200m — and three of those ranked above her in the 200m didn’t swim in the final at the world championships.

“I don’t expect [Olympic] medals. I just aim to do my best in the pool and let God do the rest.”

David Isaacson | Times Live

From → African News

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