Tatjana Schoenmaker will aim to make history on Friday by becoming the first South African woman to secure a medal at the World Aquatics Championships.
Following the disqualification of American contender Lilly King in the morning heats, Schoenmaker showed her intent by breaking her own African record in the women’s 200m breaststroke semifinals in Gwangju on Thursday.
Touching the wall in 2:21.79, she sliced 0.23 off her continental mark to qualify second fastest for the podium battle.
Though she hoped to produce a stronger challenge after finishing sixth in the 100m breaststroke final earlier in the week, Schoenmaker was not putting pressure on herself.
“I’m ready to race tomorrow,” said the Commonwealth Games champion.
“But I’m not aiming for gold, I just want to give my best.”
Another South African, Kaylene Corbett, was also set to compete in the 200m final after she clocked 2:24.18 to progress as the eighth fastest qualifier.
“We’ve got a whole day’s rest tomorrow,” said Schoenmaker, who was delighted to have her compatriot in the same final.
“Hopefully she can push herself and get a 2:23.”