Matt Sates Picks up His Fourth Gold at Nationals
Matt Sates. Photo: Team SA

Matt Sates provided one final highlight on the last night of action at the SA Swimming Championships in Gqeberha, adding another World Championships and Commonwealth Games qualifying time to his collection.

Having already dipped under the required mark in the morning heats, the Maritzburg teenager went even quicker in the 200m individual medley final, reaching the wall in 1:58.37 to beat visiting British swimmer Max Litchfield (1:59.96).

With that, Sates also secured his fourth gold medal of the championships after taking victory in the 100, 200 and 400m freestyle.

“I was more relaxed and more into the race so I was happy with the win,” said the 18-year-old. “I went out a bit hard, a little bit excited but I’ll be ready for Commonwealths and Worlds so it’s going well.”


Looking back at his week of racing in which he achieved qualifying time in two events, Sates added: “I’m very happy with it. Coming back from America and getting back into long course, it’s all a work in progress.”

Earlier in the day fellow teenage Olympian Pieter Coetzé swam a 200m backstroke time trial to try and achieve his fourth qualifying time of the championships. The 17-year-old had scratched from the final of the event the night before to focus on the 50m freestyle, in which he also qualified, and managed to dip well under the mark on Monday, finishing in 1:56.92.

“It was a bit faster than I expected because building up to these trials I did more sprint training for the 100 and the 50, so to get the 200 and to get it that comfortably was very nice,” he said afterwards.

“It wasn’t unexpected – I was going for it – but to go a 1:56 was crazy so I’m really happy with that.”

Coetzé’s previous lifetime best in the event was the 1:58.33 he swam at last year’s national championships in Gqeberha.

Speaking about his four qualifying times and three national titles, Coetzé reckoned: “It’s great, better than I ever expected and I’ve had a lot of fun. Obviously it was frantic at times but it was great to see my friends again and time-wise I’m very happy and I hope to be faster later in the year.”

Meanwhile, Duné Coetzee collected her second title of the meet, claiming 400m freestyle gold in 4:12.35 while Righardt Muller claimed top honours in the men’s 1500m freestyle, finishing in a time of 15:36.70.

Full list of qualifiers for the Commonwealth Games and World Championships

Women
Aimee Canny (200m freestyle)
Emma Chelius (50m freestyle)
Kaylene Corbett (200m breaststroke)
Tatjana Schoenmaker (50m, 100m and 200m breaststroke)
Lara van Niekerk (50m and 100m breaststroke)

Men
Pieter Coetzé (50m, 100m 200m backstroke, 50m freestyle)
Michael Houlie (50m breaststroke)
Chad le Clos (100m, 200m butterfly)
Matt Sates (200m freestyle, 200m individual medley)

Source: www.teamsa.co.za