Schoenmaker wins South Africa's first Olympic gold medal at Tokyo 2020 whilst Team USA's Lilly King and Annie Lazor clinch second and third place
Tatjana Schoenmaker erupted in tears when she won the women's 200m breaststroke with a stunning world record time of 2:18.95, breaking Denmark's Rikke Moller Pederson's 2:19:11 mark set in 2013.
The 24-year-old South African also made history today by winning South Africa's first Olympic gold at Tokyo 2020 and her second medal at the Games after already bagging a silver in the women's 100m breaststroke last Tuesday 27 July.
At first, Schoenmaker lagged behind USA's Lilly King who was already swimming in world record time at the first quarter of the race. But midway, the South African rebounded and didn't relinquish momentum to dash ahead to win gold.
Moments after watching the scoreboard, Schoenmaker was in tears and still couldn't believe she topped the podium in record time as she was congratulated by Team USA's Lilly King who placed second, Annie Lazor who picked up bronze and South African teammate Kaylene Corbett who finished at fifth place.
During the victory ceremony, Schoenmaker welled up in tears after receiving her gold medal.
"It still hasn't sunk in," Schoenmaker said.
"I don't wish my Olympic dream over, but I am excited to go and celebrate even just being at the Olympics with my parents."
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Double medal for Team USA
Teammmate and training partners Lilly King and Annie Lazor took second and third place for Team USA.
"We go to practice every day together, we went through trials together, we're here together. That's kind of the way we've always planned it - no matter how much we fight," King said about standing on the podium together with Lazor.
"Just really excited at this moment."
King who was dominant in the first 100m came so close to winning gold and was just a .97 seconds behind Schoenmaker. But instead of being disappointed, she was only in praise of the South African for her record-breaking win.
"She is swimming really well. Honestly, I've been shocked the world record hasn't been 2:18 until this point. She has been swimming so, so well. I'm so genuinely excited for her and to see the stroke evolve."
Meanwhile teammate Lazor was equally ecstatic about their double victory.
"We had two great swims and I am so happy to do it with her (Lilly King). Just like practice every day.
"I feel amazing, but I don't feel like it's sunk in yet."