South African Tatjana Schoenmaker Breaks First Individual Swimming World Record At Olympics

By Sharon Robb
TOKYO, Japan, July 29, 2021–An emotionally-charged Tatjana Schoenmaker broke the first individual world record in swimming Thursday at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre.

The 24-year-old South African set a blistering pace in the final 50 meters of the 200-meter breaststroke to win in a world record time of 2:18.95. The previous world record of 2:19.11 was held by Rikke Moller of Denmark since 2013.

It was the first gold medal won by a South African woman since 1996 and first gold of the Olympics for any South African athlete. Schoenmaker also won silver in the 100-meter breaststroke.

American training partners and good friends Lily King and Annie Lazer finished second and third. King took silver in a breakthrough swim of 2:19.92 and Lazor the bronze in 2:20.84.

“I wouldn’t have done that if she wasn’t next to me,” King said of Lazor. “This is what we were working for.”

King led until the 150-meter turn when Schoenmaker turned on the after jets to touch the wall first.

“My love for swimming makes me want to get up every morning and go to training,” Schoenmaker said. “It’s like my second home. Being fortunate enough to travel the world doing what I love, seeing new places and meeting new people and sports heroes, motivates me a lot. The most important thing every young swimmer should realize is that nothing is impossible. They only need to believe and be prepared to put in the long and hard hours.”

Local swimmers results:

Plantation American Heritage alum Dylan Carter of Trinidad & Tobago was second in his 100 butterfly heat in 52.36.

Azura’s Abbas Qali of Kuwait, fourth in his 100 butterfly heat in 53.62.

Azura’s Steven Aimable, fifth in his 100 butterfly heat in 53.64.

Azura’s Davidson Vincent of Haiti finished tied for seventh in his 100 butterfly in 54.81.

Qali, Aimable and Vincent all swam in the same heat.

Azura’s Celina Marquez of El Salvador was second in her 200 backstroke heat in 2:14.72.

In other championship medal finals:

Men’s 200-meter backstroke: Russian Evgeny Rylov became the seventh man to win both backstroke events in a single Olympics. He won in an Olympic record 1:53.27. Defending gold medalist and Bolles alum Ryan Murphy took silver in 1:54.15. Luke Greenbank of Great Britain took third in 1:54.72. The U.S. men had won seven consecutive gold medals in the event. “I put myself in a lot of pain,” Murphy said. “I just ran into a very good guy from Russia.”

Women’s 100-meter freestyle: The Aussies took first and third in the event. Emma McKeon, 27, won her first individual gold medal in an Olympic record 51.96 and teammate Cate Campbell was third in 52.52. Siobhan Haughey of Hong Kong took the silver in 52.27.

Men’s 200-meter individual medley: Underdog Shun Wang, 27, of China won the gold in an Asian record 1:55.00. Favorite Duncan Scott of Great Britain took silver in 1:55.28 and Jeremy Desplanches of Switzerland won the bronze in 1:56.17. American Michael Andrew, the early leader, faltered in the last 50 and finished a disappointing fifth in 1:57.31.


200-meter breaststroke: 1. Tatjana Schoenmaker, RSA 2:18.95, WR, OR 2. Lilly King, US 2:19.92, 3. Annie Lazor, US 2:20.84.

100-meter freestyle: 1. Emma McKeon, AUS 51.96, OR, 2. Siobhan Haughey, HKG 52.27, AS, 3. Cate Campbell, AUS 52.52.

200-meter backstroke: 1. Evgeny Rylov, ROC 1:53.27, OR, 2. Ryan Murphy, US 1:54.15, 3. Luke Greenbank, GB 1:54.72.

200-meter individual medley: 1. Shun Wang, CHN 1:55.00, 2. Duncan Scott, GBR 1:55.28, 3. Jeremy Desplanches, SUI 1:56.17.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

FINA/Airweave Swimming World Cup Series Continues Tuesday In Tokyo; Sjostrom, Le Clos Lead Series

By Sharon Robb

November 13, 2017—-Sarah Sjostrom of Sweden and Chad Le Clos of South Africa continue to lead the FINA/Airweave Swimming World Cup rankings going into the seventh leg Tuesday in Tokyo, Japan.

Sjostrom leads the women’s standings with 515 points followed by Katinka Hosszu of Hungary, 404, and Ranomi Kromowidjojo (227).

Le Clos leads the men’s series with 360 points ahead of Vladimir Morozov of Russia with 237 and Kirill Prigoda of Russia with 210.

On the second and final day of the Beijing, China leg on Saturday, four-time Jamaican Olympian Alia Atkinson, 28, of SOFLO won the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:19.58 against a less than stellar field. On Friday, she won the 50 breaststroke in 29.57.

It was her second gold medal of the meet. She has won 11 gold medals this year and 51 World Cup gold medals overall.

Also in Beijing, Le Clos won three gold medals over two days. Sjostrom also won three events.

American Michael Andrew broke a world junior record in the 100-meter individual medley in 51.86 and was second overall behind Morozov in 50.36, just .06 off his own world record.

The finals of the seventh leg in Tokyo will be live streamed on FINAtv. The series ends Nov. 18-19 in Singapore.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Four Double Winners On Day One Of FINA World Cup In Beijing; Atkinson Wins Sprint Event

By Sharon Robb

November 11, 2017—On the opening day of the FINA/Airweave Swimming World Cup Friday in Beijing, China, four swimmers each won two gold medals.

In front of their hometown fans at the National Aquatic Center Water Cube, China’s Xu Jiayu and Zhang Yuei were double winners. World champions Katinka Hosszu of Hungary and Olympic gold medalist Chad Le Clos of South Africa also were double winners.

Xu won the 50-meter backstroke in 23.09 just ahead of Florida State alum Pavel Sankovich of Belarus in 23.11. He was also a member of the winning 4×50-meter medley relay.

Le Clos won the 200-meter freestyle in 1:41.81 and 100-meter butterfly in 49.18.

Hosszu, the Olympic and world champion, won the 100-meter backstroke in 56.34 and 100-meter individual medley in 57.50.

Four-time Jamaican Olympian Alia Atkinson, 28, of SOFLO won the 50-meter breaststroke in 29.57. It was her fifth consecutive win in the event this season. In her second and final event of Day One, she went 1:02.06 in the 100-meter individual medley and failed to medal.

Fifteen-year-old Wang Jianjiahe of China set a world junior record in the women’s 400-meter freestyle in 3:59.69.

Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom won the 50-meter freestyle in 23.40.

Daiya Seto of Japan broke the meet record in the 400-meter individual medley in 3:58.20. The previous record was 3:58.69.

The 2017 World Cup Series features eight stops with Beijing being the sixth. The last two stops are Tokyo and Singapore. The Beijing competition continues on Saturday.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Sarah Sjostrom, Chad Le Clos Stars Of FINA/Airweave Swimming World Cup; Atkinson Takes Gold, Silver On Final Day

By Sharon Robb

October 6, 2017—Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom and South Africa’s Chad Le Clos continue to lead the point standings after the second and last leg of Cluster Two of the FINA/Airweave Swimming World Cup in Doha, Qatar.

Sjostrom now leads with 446 points and Le Clos has 312. Both finished the second cluster with impressive wins.

Le Clos picked up an added $50,000 for winning Cluster Two along with Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu who won five gold medals.

Sjostrom won five races over two days, the 50-, 100- and 200-meter freestyle and 50- and 100-meter butterfly.

Sjostrom also earned the best female performance of the meet with her 23.28 50-meter freestyle (994 points).

Le Clos won four races, the 200-meter freestyle and 50-, 100- and 200-meter butterfly.

The top three World Cup Leaders are Sjostrom, Hosszu and Ranomi Kromowidjojo of the Netherlands for the women and Le Clos, Kirill Prigoda of Russia and Russian teammate Vladimir Morozov.

Cluster Three begins in November in Beijing, China, Nov. 10-11; Tokyo, Japan, Nov. 14-15; and Singapore, Nov. 18-19.

In other events at the Hamad Aquatic Centre:

On the final day, four-time Jamaican Olympian Alia Atkinson of SOFLO won a gold and silver medal on the final day. Atkinson, 28, won the 50-meter breaststroke in 29.42 and was second in the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:26.10 behind Denmark’s Rikke Pedersen.

Cameron van der Burgh of South Africa won the 100-meter breaststroke in 56.11 just ahead of Kirill Prigoda of Russia.

Hosszu won the 100-meter backstroke in 56.27 ahead of Aussie Emily Seebohm in 56.40.

Germany’s Christian Diener won the 50-meter backstroke in 23.58 and 200-meter backstroke in 1:50.96.

China’s Zhang Yufei won the women’s 200-meter butterfly in 2:07.43.

Prigoda won the 200-meter individual medley in 1:55.57.

China’s Wang Jianjiahe, who set the first world junior record in the women’s 800-meter freestyle, won the 400 freestyle in 4:02.42.

Russian Vladimir Morozov won the 50-meter freestyle in 20.98.

Hosszu won the 100-meter individual medley in 57.26 and finished winning the 400-meter individual medley in 4:27.94.

Hungary’s Gergely Gyurta won the men’s 1500-meter freestyle in 14:41.84.

The Netherlands won another relay, the mixed 200-meter freestyle relay in 1:32.20 in Tom De Boer, Kyle Stalk, Maaike De Waard and Ranomi Kromowidjojo.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO’s Atkinson Wins Another Gold, Bronze On Final Day Of FINA/Airweave World Cup Series In Dubai

By Sharon Robb

November 7, 2015—Three-time Jamaican Olympian Alia Atkinson of South Florida Aquatic Club won another gold medal on the final day of the FINA/Airweave World Cup Series at the Hamdan Sports Complex in Dubai, the final stop on the series.

The 26-year-old Atkinson won the 50-meter breaststroke in a season-best 30.26, just off her Jamaican national record of 30.17. Atkinson was also third in the 50-meter butterfly in 26.95.

Atkinson finished the third cluster with $37,000 including a $30,000 bonus for third place in points behind Katinka Hosszu ($50,000) and Emily Seebohm ($35,000). She finished the series with $60,250 in prize money.

Hosszu of Hungary and South African Cameron van der Burgh each picked up $100,000 in bonus checks as the series leading points winners. Hosszu finished with 669 points and $325,000 and Van der Burgh with 369 $262,000 in total prize money. It was Hosszu’s fifth consecutive World Cup title.

In other championship finals:

Melanie Wright of Australia won the 100-meter freestyle in 53.79. Hosszu was second in 53.64.

Great Britain’s James Guy won the 200-meter freestyle in 1:46.60.

Van der Burgh won the 100-meter breaststroke in 59.05, knocking off favorite Adam Peaty of Britain who finished second in 59.28. Van der Burgh is the first male swimmer to sweep the 50 and 100 breaststroke events in the World Cup Series in the same year.

South African Chad Le Clos won the 100-meter butterfly in a season-best 51.09. American Tom Shields was second in 51.90.

Aussie Emily Seebohm won the 100-meter backstroke in 58.51 to win her tenth gold medal in the event on the series. Hosszu took another silver in 59.15.

American David Plummer won the 50-meter backstroke in 24.64.

Hungary’s Zsuzsanna Jakabos won the 200-meter butterfly in 2:07.77.

Japan’s Keita Sunama won the 200-meter individual medley in 2:00.72.

Lauren Boyle of New Zealand overtook early leader Hosszu to win in 4:04.26. Hosszu as second in 4:06.97.

Brazilians Bruno Fratus won the 50-meter freestyle in 22.05 ahead of Le Clos in 22.22. American Anthon Ervin was third in 22.40.

Turkey’s Viktoria Gunes won the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:22.87.

Aussie Mitch Larkin won the 200-meter backstroke in 1:53.17, lowering his national, Commonwealth and Oceanic records by 2/10ths of a second.

American Felicia Lee won the 50-meter butterfly in 26.69.

Czech swimmer Jan Micka won the 1500-meter freestyle in a national record 15:02.08. Mykhailo Romanchuk of the Ukraine was a close second in 15:03.68.

Hosszu finished the World Cup event with another gold medal in the 400-meter individual medley in 4:33.88, fastest time in the world this year.

A field of 450 swimmers from 56 countries competed on the final stop.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

FINA/Airweave World Cup Series Resumes Monday In Doha; Pine Crest’s Ciesla Makes International Debut; SOFLO’s Atkinson Heads Field

By Sharon Robb

November 1, 2015—Marta Ciesla of Pine Crest Swimming will make her international debut on Monday when the FINA/Airweave World Cup Series resumes at the Hamad Aquatic Center in Doha, Qatar.

The high school All-American swimmer will represent the U.S. in the series’ final two meets as a member of USA Swimming’s 14-member 18-and-under squad that also includes Florida-bound Maxime Rooney, Sean Grieshop and Courtney Harnish.

Ciesla, a junior at Pine Crest, competed in her last high school meet this season at the district meet two weeks ago. She gave up competing in the region and state meets to represent her country.

Ciesla, a member of the USA Swimming Junior National Team in the 50 freestyle, will compete Monday in the 50-meter freestyle in the third heat seeded in 25.07. The heats and final are both Monday. Prelims are 3 a.m. EST and finals 11 a.m. EST.

This is the third and final cluster that finishes in Doha and Dubai this week. The Doha event is Monday and Tuesday and Dubai event is Friday and Saturday.

The only other Florida swimmer competing is three-time Jamaican Olympian Alia Atkinson of South Florida Aquatic Club. Atkinson, 26, looks to rebound after a disappointing cluster start in Tokyo last week where she managed to take only one silver medal and missed making the final in the 100-meter breaststroke, her signature event.

Hungarian Katinka Hosszu and South African Cameron Van der Burgh, the current World Cup points leaders, head an impressive international field that also features Yannick Agnel of France, James Guy and Robbie Renwick of Great Britain, Emily Seebohm of Australia and American Natalie Coughlin.

The full eight-leg World Cup is being held in long course leading up to the 2016 Rio Olympics.

The top three finishers in each event earn $1,500, $1,000 and $500. There is also a $10,000 payout for world records and cluster bonuses awarded from $50,000 to $5,000 among the top six.

The World Cup events are being live-streamed for free on FINATV.

Sharon Robb can be reached at