17-Year-Old South African Matt Sates Swims 1:57.60 IM/51.83 FL In Durban

2021 South Africa Grand Prix No. 4 – Durban

The fourth installment of the 2021 South Africa Grand Prix is underway in Durban. Three 17-year-old men highlighted the first of three prelims/finals sessions, including Matt Sates, who set two lifetime bests that were both under the FINA Olympic A cut.

In the 200 IM, 17-year-old 17-year-old Matt Sates of SEAL dropped 1.48 seconds from his season best of 1:59.02 to hit 1:57.60, moving up to the top 15 times in the world this season. Sates split 25.14/29.93/34.32/28.21 during his evening prelims swim, which is now way under the FINA Olympic A cut of 1:59.67. Sates later won finals at 2:02.74.

If Sates were American, he would rank No. 3 all-time in 17-18 age group history, only behind Carson Foster (1:57.59, 2019) and Michael Phelps (1:55.94, 2003). The South African national record sits at 1:57.03, set by Darian Townsend at the 2009 French Championships.

Sates hit his second Olympic A cut in the 100 fly during the same session in a time trial, dropping three-tenths from his 52.15 from RSA Nationals to go 51.83, swimming under the 51.96 automatic qualification standard. At the Cana stop of the 2021 South African Grand Prix Series, Sates out-swam Olympian Chad le Clos 52.30 to 53.37.

Remaining at No. 13 in the 2020-2021 world rankings was 17-year-old Pieter Coetze in the 100 back, who swam 54.31 to win AM finals after hitting 54.10 during PM prelims. At the 2021 RSA National meet, Coetze swam 53.62, which hit the automatic Olympic qualification cut of 53.85.

Coetze also picked up a win in the 50 fly. During prelims, Coetze put up the only sub-25 swim of 24.65, four-tenths ahead of Alaric Basson‘s 25.05. Later in finals, Coetze held off Basson by a tenth, taking the win 25.25 to 25.35. Placing third was Brandon Chapman by 0.01s at 25.36.

Basson also swam in the 200 breast, picking up an event win in finals at 2:15.44, improving from his 2:17.19 evening prelims effort. Finishing 0.11s apart for second and third place were Michael Deans (2:18.30) and 15-year-old Kian Keylock (2:18.41).

Tokyo Olympian Tatjana Schoenmaker took a win in the women’s 100 breast, swimming 1:06.88. Schoenmaker holds the South African national record at 1:05.74, which ranks No. 3 in the world rankings this season. Lara Van Niekerk placed second to Schoenmaker at 1:07.73, gaining four-tenths from her 1:07.34 prelims swim.

Schoenmaker also swam the 200 free, placing second in prelims at 2:04.55 behind 16-year-old Hannah Robertson (2:04.05). Into the AM final, it was Christin Mundell (2:04.56) who took the win over Robertson (2:05.94). Later on, Mundell would win the 400 IM at 5:01.91.

Another recent South African record-breaker, Emma Chelius, won the women’s 50 free at 25.20. Most recently, Chelius took the national record down at 24.72, automatically qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics. Rounding out the top three times were Olivia Nel (25.94) and Rebecca Meder (26.14). Nel also won the 50 back at 29.04 while Meder hit 2:14.32 during a 200 IM time trial.

More Day One Highlights:

  • Into the 200 fly, 17-year-old Ethan du Preez swam a pair of 1:57.85s on Friday evening and Saturday morning. Earlier in the year, du Preez threw down a 1:56.16 lifetime best before qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics at 1:56.44 at RSA Nationals.
  • In the men’s 50 breast, Tennessee teamer Michael Houlie swam 27.68 to win finals after hitting 27.61 in prelims.
  • Guy Brooks led the men’s 100 free prelims at 49.84, nearly a full second ahead of Matthew Bosch (50.80). Yet in finals, Bosch took the win by two one-hundredths over Brooks, 50.65 to 50.67.
  • In the men’s 400 free, Brent Szurdoki put up the fastest time in prelims at 3:53.95. Later in finals, Michael McGlynn (3:56.56) narrowly held off Henre Louw (3:56.83) for the win.
  • Swimming top times in the 1500 free events were Matthew Caldwell (16:12.95) for the men and Catherine van Rensburg (17:10.32) for the women.
  • After swimming 1:00.20 during prelims of the women’s 100 fly, Dune Coetzee broke a minute to win the final at 59.67.
  • In the women’s 200 back, Hannah Pearse took down prelims leader Samantha Randle 2:16.62 to 2:16.93.

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2 years ago

Pity his times at events seem to be slower than his qualifying time.

Le Clos begs to differ
2 years ago

“The South African national record sits at 1:57.03, set by Darian Townsend at the 2009 French Championships.”

I’m pretty sure the SA national record is a bit faster that 1:57…

Reply to  Le Clos begs to differ
2 years ago

And yet, your confidence notwithstanding, the record is, in fact, 1:57.03 and does not belong to Chad Le Clos.


Le Clos begs to differ
Reply to  Braden Keith
2 years ago

Didn’t he go 1:52 in London?

Reply to  Le Clos begs to differ
2 years ago

IM not fly

Coleman's glasses
2 years ago

He’s gonna be brilliant at Georgia. Name me another recruit coming in with a 51.8 100 fly LCM for 2021

Last edited 2 years ago by Coleman's glasses
Reply to  Coleman's glasses
2 years ago

The Russian going to Stanford? But agree about he will make waves at Georgia. Is he going to Georgia this fall or spring or 2022? Countries south of equator usually graduate in December!

Reply to  Ghost
2 years ago

He’s coming in January of next year

Reply to  Coleman's glasses
2 years ago

Noe Ponti at NC State. There’s a lot of great international swimmers coming to NCAA next year.

Reply to  Coleman's glasses
2 years ago

Bernardo Bondra is arriving at Alabama with a 52.3. Not quite 51.8, but a very strong addition to the NCAA

About Nick Pecoraro

Nick Pecoraro

Nick Pecoraro started swimming at age 11, instantly becoming drawn to the sport. He was a breaststroker and IMer when competing. After joining SwimSwam, the site has become an outlet for him to research and learn about competitive swimming and experience the sport through a new lenses. He graduated in …

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