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Tatjana Schoenmaker breaks first individual swimming world record at Tokyo Olympics

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The first individual swimming world record of the Olympics has now been broken.

After capturing the silver medal in the 100-meter breaststroke, South Africa’s Tatjana Schoenmaker came back in the 200-meter breaststroke to win gold and break the world record in a time of 2:18.95.

It’s the first time a woman has ever swam under 2:19 in the event. Former world-record holder Rikke Moeller Pedersen came close in 2013 with a time of 2:19.11.

What is even more amazing is the journey that it took for Schoenmaker to get to Tokyo. In 2016, South Africa sent zero women to the Rio Olympics for swimming. Atthat point, Schoenmaker’s best time in the 200-meter breaststroke was 2:27.79. In five years, Schoenmaker has improved on her time by nearly ten seconds and now walks away from the Tokyo Olympics as an Olympic gold medalist and a world-record holder.

Her reaction after the race made the win even sweeter to watch.

American standout Lilly King also had a standout race, touching in at 2:19.92 for the 15th-fastest swim of all time. Teammate Annie Lazor touched in at 2:20.84 for bronze.

The finish didn’t seem to matter, however, as the two Americans celebrated Schoenmaker’s record-breaking swim with her.

“It’s just an incredible swim,” Lazor said after the race. “That world record has been standing for a little bit too long, I think. So to see someone finally crack 2:19, we’ve all been working towards that … to see someone like her do it, she’s just a great person. Just to be there and experience that with someone is something that you’ll really never forget.”