Coetzé claims second gold as Sates bags butterfly title in Le Clos’s absence

aquatics09 April 2024 19:10
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Matt Sates © SA Sports Images/Anton Geyser

Pieter Coetzé added the 100m freestyle title to his 50m freestyle gold on the second night of action at the SA National Swimming Championships in Gqeberha on Tuesday.

The 19-year-old powered to victory in a time of 49.12 seconds to edge out veteran Chad le Clos who had chosen to focus on defending his 100m freestyle final rather than the 200m butterfly later in the evening.

Le Clos finished second in 49.34 seconds with Guy Brooks taking the bronze in 49.42.

Speaking after the race, Coetzé, known internationally for his backstroke exploits, said: “I always love winning but to get the win with Chad in the race and Guy looking good, it was a lot of fun. I’ve been trying to do more races and nationals is always a chance for me to do that so to do some freestyle and win is amazing.

“Time-wise I would have liked to get a 48 but we didn’t get a lot of rest coming into this. We’re thinking about Paris, so I’m really happy with it.

“This morning I tried to take it out pretty easy. Easy speed we like to call it. Tonight I was trying to up the tempo a little bit and I felt it in the end.”


Meanwhile, with Le Clos out of the picture in the 200m butterfly, young gun Matt Sates cruised to victory in a time of 1:56.99 – over six seconds ahead of second-placed Dylan Wright (2:03.12) with Benjamin Plattner third in 2:03.38.

“It’s always nice swimming with Chad so I was a little disappointed he didn’t swim,” said Sates after his victory.

“[The plan] was just to go out and try and hold the stroke rate but I died a bit at the end.”


Earlier in the evening Aimee Canny secured the women’s 100m freestyle title ahead of Erin Gallagher.

The 20-year-old took the gold in a time of 54.65 seconds, with Gallagher second in 54.88 and Caitlin de Lange third in 55.92.

“I think maybe I went out a little hard,” said Canny afterwards. “I like to back-end races and I think maybe I could have gone out a little easier and then come back but overall it was a good time so I’m happy with it.

“This was right on my PB so I’m really excited for tomorrow [200m freestyle]. I’m feeling good in the water so I’m excited.”

In the women’s 200m butterfly final it was Duné Coetzee who took top honours, winning in a time of 2:13.97 with Trinity Hearne second in 2:17.06 and Leigh McMorran third in 2:17.50.


Meanwhile, three of the Paralympic swimmers competing at the championships swam qualifying times for the Paralympic Games in Paris later this year.

They were Christian Sadie in the S7 100m backstroke whose heat time of 1:15.14 proved to be his fastest of the day, Nathan Hendricks who swam 1:02.12 in the S13 100m backstroke final and Kat Swanepoel in the SB3 50m breaststroke (59.12 seconds in the heats and 58.04 seconds in the final).

“This morning I felt like I didn’t quite hit it fully so to come back this evening and really be able to access that gear – I was really happy with tonight’s swim,” said Swanepoel afterwards.

“It makes a big difference to know what I set last year at world champs, that is very close to where we are now so exciting times.”

Swimming action resumes at the Newton Park Swimming Pool in Gqeberha on Wednesday and continues until Saturday.

© Swimming SA