A South African swimmer with a “Soli Deo Gloria” swim cap won Olympic gold after breaking the world record for the women’s 200-meter breaststroke.
Twenty-four-year-old Tatjana Schoenmaker completed the race with a time of 2 minutes and 18.95 seconds — breaking the previous world record of 2 minutes and 19.11 seconds set by Denmark’s Rikke Moller Pedersen in 2013. American swimmers Lilly King and Annie Lazor — who clinched silver and bronze — rushed to embrace Schoenmaker in the water while she wept in disbelief.
“I wasn’t expecting that at all,” said Schoenmaker after her race. “It couldn’t have been a better race. It still just doesn’t sink in; maybe one day.”
“It’s just an incredible swim,” Lazor said of Schoenmaker. “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 I think, 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.”
Schoenmaker previously earned silver in Tokyo for the women’s 100-meter breaststroke.
South Africa's Tatjana Schoenmaker BREAKS the world record to win the gold in the women's 200m breaststroke and her reaction is priceless.@_king_lil and @lazorlaze win the silver and bronze for @TeamUSA. #TokyoOlympics
📱 NBC Sports App pic.twitter.com/etlxBwXJG9
— #TokyoOlympics (@NBCOlympics) July 30, 2021
Beyond her swimming performance, Schoenmaker has attracted international attention for the swim cap she wears under her South African cap, which reads “Soli Deo Gloria” — “Glory to God Alone.”
The cap also features a blue “Jesus fish” — an ancient Christian symbol associated with the Greek word for fish, “Ichthus,” which doubles as a Greek acrostic translated as “Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior.”
➡️ Tatjana Schoenmaker,
nadadora olímpica sudafricana de 24 años, ganó medalla de plata en 100 mts pecho en los #JuegosOlímpicos
Sus gorras de natación personalizadas con la frase “Soli Deo Gloria” (Solo la gloria a Dios).
Cada quien lleva y expresa su fe a su manera. Respeto. pic.twitter.com/KSIWYEj4j5
— Diario Deportivo CR (@DiarioDeporCR) July 28, 2021
As she traveled to the game, Schoenmaker posted a prayer to her Twitter page: “Father God may your will be done, may your peace fill us up, may we praise you no matter what the outcome, may we be empowered by your strength to give it our all and may we forever be in the awe of your goodness!”
LET THE GAMES BEGIN 🙏🏻🇿🇦
Father God may your will be done, may your peace fill us up, may we praise you no matter what the outcome, may we be empowered by your strength to give it our all and may we forever be in the awe of your goodness! pic.twitter.com/FE21q66Bvs
— Tatjana Schoenmaker (@TRSchoenmaker) July 23, 2021
Without a doubt, the American Christian can rejoice alongside Schoenmaker; though she is not a citizen of their nation, she is most certainly a citizen of their Kingdom.