Tatjana Schoenmaker, Olympic breaststroke gold medalist, to miss swimming worlds

Tatjana Schoenmaker

Olympic 200m breaststroke gold medalist Tatjana Schoenmaker of South Africa will not compete at the world swimming championships in June, choosing to prioritize the Commonwealth Games later this summer.

Schoenmaker’s agency confirmed this month’s report from the Times of South Africa.

In Tokyo, Schoenmaker broke a nine-year-old world record in winning the 200m breast over Americans Lilly King and Annie Lazor. She also took 100m breast silver behind American Lydia Jacoby.

It was a landmark performance for South Africa, which qualified zero female swimmers for the 2016 Olympics and last had a female swimming medalist in 2000.

The U.S. could now dominate the women’s breaststrokes at worlds with Schoenmaker absent as well as the entire Russian team due to the nation’s ban for the invasion of Ukraine. Russians finished fourth and fifth in the 100m breast and fourth in the 200m breast in Tokyo.

Chad le Clos, South Africa’s other active Olympic swimming medalist, is expected to compete at worlds.

Some Australian stars are also planning to compete at Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, Great Britain, and not at world championships in Budapest.

Commonwealth Games are a quadrennial multi-sport event for the Commonwealth of Nations, notably Australia, Canada, Jamaica, South Africa and those that make up Great Britain at the Olympics — England, Scotland and Wales and Northern Ireland (whose athletes can represent Great Britain or Ireland at the Olympics).

Swimming world championships are typically not held in the same year as Commonwealth Games, but last year’s worlds were postponed to 2022 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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