11 October 2021

Quick in the water, now quicker on land: Olympic Gold medallist Tatjana Schoenmaker gets an upgrade from Eagle Ford

Submitted by Teresa Settas
Quick in the water, now quicker on land: Olympic Gold medallist Tatjana Schoenmaker gets an upgrade from Eagle Ford

Eagle Ford hosted Olympic Gold Medallist and World Record Holder, Tatjana Schoenmaker on Friday 1 October, at Eagle Corner and upgraded the swimmer's sponsored vehicle from the pre-Olympics Ford Ecosport she had been driving to a sleek branded Ford Mustang. 

“Tatjana continues to make us proud, not just with her spectacular performance during the Olympics, but also with her humble, down-to-earth nature,” says Craig Gillesen, Dealer Principle at the Eagle Group, South Africa’s largest privately-owned dealership.  “She is an exceptional ambassador for the Eagle Ford brand as well as for South Africa.  Her sacrifice and commitment in pursuing this achievement is a reminder to us all of the character and discipline needed to make a real impact in the world."

Tatjana had not been aware of the surprise upgrade, having instead been invited to the dealership for a congratulatory meeting with staff members and for further discussions around the sponsorship.

On arrival at the dealership Tatjana was met by an enthusiastic staff compliment, waving South African, Ford and Eagle Corner flags. After parking her Ecosport, she was directed along a red carpet to the awaiting surprise of the new Mustang – a striking yellow model with a special personalised decal pack. The sight of the vehicle evoked a reaction similar to when she broke the world record – extreme surprise and sheer delight.

When asked what she thought of her new car once she caught her breath, Tatjana said: “The Mustang has always been a dream car for my family, my friends and I – not only is it strikingly beautiful, but is also a legend in it’s own right. It’s a privilege to be given the opportunity to drive one.”

Turning to the subject of her stunning Olympic success, Tatjana commented on the pressure that was on her and her competitors at the Olympics:  “An extra year of training due to the Games being delayed to 2021 meant that I knew that the level of competition would be lifted significantly, which in turn meant that I needed to compete on a higher level if I was going to make the finals – especially in the 200m breaststroke event.”

An extremely private person, Tatjana, has had to adapt to her newfound celebrity status.  Her schedule has been full of public appointments since her return to SA after the Olympics and she has embraced her new public image with pride. 

“I’ve been overwhelmed by the public's response, but I’ve come to appreciate people approaching me – even in parking lots and shopping centres – to congratulate me or just spend a moment with me. I enjoy it, because it was thanks to their support that I was able to achieve what I achieved.

“In the end I feel it was their victory as much as mine.”