South African swimming sensation Tatjana Schoenmaker has taken to social media to share celebrations of her graduation day.
In her Twitter post, Schoenmaker said, “GRADUATION DAY! As a student athlete I am happy to say, “I made it!” It was a tough but achievable journey! Grateful for all the people who had part in getting me here today. Blessed to have still celebrated the day no matter the circumstance.”
GRADUATION DAY ??? As student athlete I am happy to say "I made it." It was a tough but achievable journey!! Grateful for all the people who had part in getting me here today.??Blessed to have still celebrated this day despite the circumstances❤️??@SpeedoSA @TuksSport #coronavirus pic.twitter.com/0IbxmFLzvU
Due to Covid-19 lockdown restrictions, University of Pretoria could not hold an official graduation ceremony to honour their students. However, it did not deter Schoenmaker from turning her backyard into her graduation gathering with family members.
Speaking to gsport, Schoenmaker expressed her excitement of her informal celebration.
“I can’t even say it was different because I don’t know how it’s supposed to feel, but I think it was very special just having everyone close here and ja, it was basically home is where everything is and the main people that were there to support me.
“I obviously do miss everyone else and it was not the formal ceremony but my family made it quite special. They had made their own informal ceremony. It was honestly really special and like one of my friends said that it is quite historical, haha.”
Schoenmaker is an inspiration to many student-athletes as she has managed to successfully complete her studies while pursuing an international professional swimming career.
“Being a student-athlete is not easy but it was definitely fun! I was able to do what I love and obviously trying to get a degree to have something to fall back on.”
She advices other student-athletes, saying:
“My advice would be you can love your sport and have some much passion for it, but you might not know what would happen so it is important to have a degree and being able to juggle both even though sometime I felt like I couldn’t, it was definitely worth it.”
She had a superb 2019 where she received the Ministerial Award at the 2019 Momentum gsport Awards ceremony, Sports Star of the Year and Sportswoman of the Year at the SA Sports Awards after she secured double gold at the World Student Games in Naples and stormed to a historic silver medal in the 200m breaststroke final at the FINA World Championships in Gwangju.
She was also looking forward to competing at this year’s Olympics in Tokyo which would have been an important year in her career, however she will have to wait until next year to make her dreams a reality.
Photo 1 Caption: South African swimming sensation, Tatjana Schoenmaker, graduated from University of Pretoria after successfully managing to juggle her studies and professional swimming career. Photo: Frennie Shivambu