By: Markos Papadatos, Senior Editor
Olympic gold medalist swimmer Tatjana Schoenmaker, the “Queen of Breaststroke,” chatted with HNA’s Markos Papadatos about her Olympic journey.
A native of Johannesburg, South Africa, Schoenmaker won the gold medal at the Tokyo Summer Olympic Games in the women’s 200 meter breaststroke (where she also set a world record in that race: 2:18.95), and a silver medal in the women’s 100 meter breaststroke.
On her two Olympic medals, she said, “It still feels unbelievable and unrealistic. It still feels like a dream. Those were so special and I was really lucky to be able to celebrate them with everyone. It was amazing. Those are the memories I am going to hold onto.”
“Obviously, with my reaction, I did not expect to break the world record. I think it will sink in the future,” she added.
She spoke highly about her fellow Olympic competitors. “Lydia Jacoby’s race was incredible and even Lilly’s 200 meter race was good, she did so well. It was so nice to race those girls, as it always is,” she said. “I was so happy for Lydia Jacoby, she is such a sweet girl.”
Regarding her daily motivations, she said, “Knowing for who I am swimming for, I guess. Obviously, I have my faith, and I swim for God. That motivates me and pushes me to want to do amazing in His name and His glory.”
For young and aspiring swimmers, Shoenmaker said, “Focus on yourself since it’s easy to compare yourself to other people. Everyone’s process and journey is different. Achieving small little goals to get to your big goals is important.”
“Make sure you enjoy swimming, and do it because you live it,” she added.
She listed the breaststroke as her personal favorite stroke in the sport.
On being a swimmer in the digital age, she said, “In some ways, it is challenging. It can challenge your personality. I’m not really someone who is out there. I don’t post a lot, I hold my character a little. It took me a while to get my Instagram going. The digital age allows people to follow your own journey. During the Olympic Games, technology was amazing.”
On the title of the current chapter of her life, she revealed, “Busy and Back to the Grind.” “Obviously, I am getting ready for the next competition,” she said. “I am also getting things done for sponsors and media.”
Regarding her definition of the word success, she responded, “For me, it doesn’t mean medals and records. Success just means giving your best.”
For her fans and supporters, she said, “The fans are the reason for my success. I would definitely like to thank them for all of the support, and all of the new fans. Hopefully, they keep supporting me.”
To learn more about Olympic swimmer Tatjana Schoenmaker, check out her official website and follow her on Instagram.