Australia’s McKeon, S. Africa’s Schoenmaker take gold and break records in women’s swimming
An electric Emma McKeon blazed to the women’s Olympic 100m freestyle title Friday as flying South African Tatjana Schoenmaker smashed the long-standing women’s 200m breaststroke world record.
Hong Kong’s Siobhan Haughey (52.27) earned another silver after the 200m freestyle, when she came second behind Australia’s Ariarne Titmus.
Australian veteran Cate Campbell was third in 52.52, bettering her disappointing sixth at the Rio Olympics when she was hot favourite.
“I think it’ll probably take a while to sink in then the emotions will really come out,” said McKeon, who became only the second swimmer ever to dip below 52 seconds.
“I knew that I’ve been working hard and I was the best prepared.”
Just Sarah Sjostrom has gone faster, when she set the 51.71 world record at the Budapest world championships in 2017. The Swede finished sixth on Friday.
McKeon, 27, had signalled her intent in the heats, lowering the Olympic record, and she was always in charge of the final, turning first and accelerating to the line.
“I didn’t even look at my time,” she said. “I just went for the place because that’s what Olympics is about.”
She had already clinched gold and bronze in the 4×100 and 4×200 relays and came third in the 100m butterfly, with her four medals so far equalling her Rio tally.
While she was crowned the Tokyo sprint queen, Schoenmaker carved out her own slice of history with a sensational swim in the 200m breast final to claim gold.
The 24-year-old touched in 2:18.95 to better the 2:19.11 world record set by Denmark’s Rikke Moller Pedersen way back in 2013.