The 24-year-old South African will line up again in the semifinals on Monday morning.
Tatjana Schoenmaker made an explosive statement in the pool on Sunday, shattering the Olympic record and establishing herself as the gold medal favourite in the women’s 100m breaststroke at the Tokyo Games.
Schoenmaker won her heat in the evening session in 1:04.88, breaking the African record of 1:05.74 which she set at the SA trials in Gqeberha in April.
She touched the wall well ahead of 17-year-old American Lydia Jacoby, who was second quickest in the opening round in 1:05.52.
The 24-year-old South African, who looked to be in reach of the world record held by American Lilly King (1:04.13), was set to line up again in the semifinals in the early hours of Monday morning.
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“I didn’t expect that at all. It was a good swim but I think most of the other girls are going to swim much faster tomorrow, so I’m just trying to get a lane in the final,” Schoenmaker said.
Fellow swimmer Pieter Coetze finished eighth in his 100m backstroke heat in 54.05, and the 17-year-old prospect was eliminated ahead of the penultimate round.
Elsewhere in the afternoon session, the SA men’s hockey team took the early lead against the Netherlands but were ultimately handed a 5-3 defeat.
Brothers Mustaphaa and Dayaan Cassiem both scored for South Africa, along with Tevin Kok, but they lost grip of their 3-2 half-time lead.
With two losses behind them, the national squad will be desperate for a win over Belgium on Tuesday, in order to keep their playoff hopes alive.
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On the football pitch, the SA U-23 team were edged in a 4-3 defeat by France, as their medal ambitions were scrapped.
Teboho Mokoena, Evidence Makgopa and Kobamelo Kodisang all found the back of the net, but it was not enough, and while they have one more match against Mexico, they can no longer progress to the knockout rounds.
In artistic gymnastics, Caitlin Rooskrantz finished 61st in the individual all-round competition, with compatriot Naveen Daries taking 76th position.