Days before South African Olympic swimmer Tatjana Schoenmaker set a new Olympic record in women’s swimming, she first took to social media to openly express her Christian faith and pray to God to give her peace and an attitude of gratitude no matter the outcome.

Olympic swimmer Tatjana Schoenmaker of South Africa set a new Olympic record in women’s 200-meter breaststroke on July 28, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. | YouTube/NBC Sports

Even with the mixture of shock and unexplainable emotions that the 24-year-old said she felt before competing, she still found time to pray in a post on her Instagram page with over 24,400 followers.        

“Father God, may Your will be done, may Your peace fill us up, may we praise You no matter what the outcome,” she wrote prayerfully on her Instagram, which has the words “All Glory to God’ in the profile bio.

“May we be empowered by Your strength to give our all and may we forever be in awe of Your goodness! Thank You for bringing us to this very moment.”

Five days after her social media prayer, Schoenmaker succeeded in the women’s 200-meter breaststroke on Wednesday, setting a new Olympic record time of 2:19.16 in the preliminary round. She placed first in the semi-final round that took place Thursday, finishing with a time of 2:19.33. She won the 200-meter breaststroke final Thursday night, taking home a gold medal and a new world record at 2:18.95. She beat the record set in 2013 by Denmark’s Rikke Moller Pedersen. 

She also broke an Olympic record in the preliminary round in the 100-meter breaststroke, setting the time of 1:04.82. However, she took silver in the 100-meter breaststroke final round. 

For Schoenmaker, sharing her Christian beliefs on Instagram is nothing new for her. 

A few years ago, the swimmer accepted Jesus as her personal savior on Sept. 12, 2016. She was also baptized. 

On the anniversary of her baptism in 2017, she expressed her faith in another Instagram post. 

“Today, a year ago, I made the best decision of my life, by accepting Jesus as my personal Savior, and that I am willing to commit my entire life in humble obedience and service to God (Acts 2:36-38),” she wrote, adding that she was glad to be baptized with two other women that day. “I got to do it with these two ladies who also wanted this amazing new life with God. GOD IS GOOD.”     

One of the women baptized with her that day, Cayla Saaiman, replied: “A day filled with so much meaning and memories that will never be forgotten…The best decision one can make…So thankful.”

Schoenmaker shared in an Instagram post on Aug. 16, 2020, how originally 2020 was supposed to be “the year” to swim in the Olympics. She said she even took time away from her studies to train for the Olympics. Despite her plans, she said she realized it was not God’s plan.

“[2020], the year I’ve been training for my whole swimming career, but what I realized is it was the year I planned, and not necessarily God’s planned year,” she explained. “We always get so caught up in making our plans and doing it our way, but is it in line with God’s plan/way?”

“THANK YOU GOD,” she continued in the post. “… for making me realize that your plans for 2020 is bigger than just my plans and may I trust that you have greater things to come.”

During her time competing in the Olympics, she reportedly has found other ways to express her faith in non-virtual ways in public. 

She has worn two caps the entire time: a green one representing South Africa and a second one with a blue Jesus Fish and “Soli Deo Gloria” (Latin for Glory to God Alone) printed on the side, according to a Premier.

Leave a Reply