Matt Sates is a competitive swimmer who holds multiple world Jr records and is a 2021 Olympian. He represents South Africa internationally.
Sates was one to watch in South Africa since his age-group swimming days. In August of 2019 (recently turned 16), he won South African Short Course National Championships in the 200 breast, 200 IM, and 400 IM, and had a number of other individual top 5 finishes – including finishing as the runner-up in the 100 fly.
On July 11, 2020, Sates announced his verbal commitment to swim at the University of Georgia.
2021 World Cup
At the 2021 World Cup circuit, Sates put his name out to the world in a big way. At the first stop in Berlin, he broke 2 world Jr records in the 200m free (1:40.65) and 200m IM (1:51.45). He took wins on both of the events, taking down major names like Danas Rapsys and Kyle Chalmers.
At the 2nd stop in Budapest, Sates wasted no time asserting himself, registering a come-from-behind victory in the 400m free to take the win over Rapsys and clock another world Jr record (3:37.92).
Sates arrived in Athens, Georgia in January of 2022, in time to compete for UGA during the spring semester.
At his first SEC Championships, Sates won the 500 free (4:09.06) and 200 free (1:31.16), using his patented 3rd quarter of each race to propel him ahead of the competition. He also placed 2nd in the 200 fly (1:39.88) behind his teammate, LUca Urlando. As a part of Georgia relays, he helped the bulldogs finish 2nd in the 800 free and 3rd in the 400 free and medley.
At the Georgia Last Chance Meet, Sates swam his first (and only) medley races in yards, clocking 3:41.85 in the 400 IM and 1:44.83 in the 200 IM.
At his first NCAA championships, Sates won his first individual event, breaking the meet record in the 500 free at 4:06.61. He also placed 3rd in the 200 free (1:30.72) and 29th in the 200 fly.
2021 Olympic Games
After missing Olympic qualification at the 2021 South African Championships in April, Sates competed at the Cana Grand Prix the following month, where he hit the FINA ‘A’ cut in the 200 IM, qualifying him for his first Olympic Games. Later that month, he also hit the ‘A’ cut in the 100 fly at the Grand Prix in Durban.
In Tokyo at the Olympic Games, Sates qualified for the semi-finals of the 200 IM out of prelims (15th, 1:58.08) and ultimately wound up placing 14th overall (1:58.75). The next day, he swam prelims of the 100 fly, placing 32nd overall (52.43).
After one semester at Georgia, Sates decided to end his very brief NCAA career. On April 14, 2022, Sates turned pro, signing with the Newton Agency and returning to his hometown of Pietermaritzburg, South Africa to train. Sates had only arrived at the University of Georgia in the U.S. in January 2022, spending roughly 3 months with the Bulldogs before making this decision.