Tatjana Schoenmaker Gets Real About Fitness And Breaking Records

The SA swimming sensation is the first female swimmer to win a medal at the World Champs.


Ondela Mlandu |

Before we talk about Tatjana Schoenmaker, take a trip down memory lane – to your swimming lane… Your first swimming lesson, then your first gala at school and the roaring crowd cheering you on at the end of the finish line.

When swimming powerhouses Penny Haynes, Natalie du Doit and Suzaan van Biljon represented South Africa in the Olympics, they must have felt emotional about what they had achieved and the strides they’d made to get to where they were. As for the rest of us, we were blown away by their tenacity – these women put our country on the map.

This time, we’re celebrating 22-year-old swimming sensation Tatjana Schoenmaker, who scooped a gold medal at the 2019 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.

Women’s Health caught up with Tatjana as she prepares for the 2020 World Olympics in Tokyo, to find out how she juggles swimming and being a TUKS student.

Training… and more training

We asked Tatjana what her training schedule entails. “I have eight swimming sessions and two gym sessions each week. Monday, Wednesday and Friday is a double swim. Tuesday is one swim and on Saturday’s I have my last gym session.”

Immediately after waking up, Tatjana heads to swimming, before returning back to her flat to prepare for class. “Depending on my class times, I’m between the flat and class. Around 2:30 pm, I head to the pool for a session. Around 6:30 pm, I’ll be at home either studying or relaxing, before the cycle continues the next day,” she says.

And preparing for races…

“When I prepare for the day, I listen to praise and worship music. This is usually from when I wake up to when I’m on the bus. When I get to the pool, I focus on my warm-up and getting good times during the warm-up. I always try to remain calm.”

In terms of eating, Tatjana doesn’t necessarily stick to a set plan. “I don’t compromise on breakfast. I love my avocado and boiled egg on rye bread and I eat it consistently,” she says.

Words of wisdom

Tatjana’s words of wisdom for novice swimmers and all females this women’s month is the importance of focusing on your own improvements. “As women, we tend to compare ourselves to others, because of the fear that someone else may progress faster than us. As long as you’re making progress within yourself, know that you’re already moving forward and that deserves a pat on the back,” she says.

Follow Tatjana on social media to find out more about her swimming journey.

READ MORE ON: Fitness Health SA Women In Sport