TOKYO, Japan — South Africa’s Tatjana Schoenmaker has set the first individual swimming world record at the Tokyo Olympics.
She won the women’s 200-meter breaststroke with a time of 2 minutes, 18.95 seconds, breaking the mark of 2:19.11 set by Denmark’s Rikke Moller Pedersen at the 2013 world championships in Barcelona.
The United States claimed the other two medals. Lilly King set a blistering pace early in the race and held on for a silver in 2:19.92. Annie Lazor grabbed bronze in 2:20.84.
It was an emotional moment for the American teammates after the race. Just months before the Games, Lazor's father, David, passed away suddenly. King vowed to make sure Lazor stayed focused so she could make the Olympic team.
But after the race, it was Lazor talking about the years King has struggled to put in the performance she did on Thursday.
"I'm so so happy to see her have a huge breakthrough in that event," Lazor said of her teammate. "I know it's been an emotional struggle for her the last few years, and to see her break through at the right time, she deserves it so much."
Schoenmaker's record was the third world record set at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre, with the first two coming in women’s relays.
Travis Pittman and Joe Calabrese contributed to this report.