Commonwealth Games Champion Pieter Coetze Verbally Commits To Cal For Fall 2024

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On Friday, South African swimmer and Commonwealth champion Pieter Coetze announced via Instagram that he has verbally committed to swim collegiately at the University of California; Berkeley. He will be arriving on campus in the fall of 2024, as he will swim with his current club and coach in South Africa up until the conclusion of the Paris Olympic games.

“I decided to swim NCAA because I wanted to get the college experience and to be in that environment,” Coetze told SwimSwam. “I think Cal is the right place and I will be in a competitive environment with some amazing swimmers and coaches.”

This summer, Coetze had a major long course breakthrough. And while he missed the 2022 World Championships due to a COVID-19 infection, he bounced back by winning a Commonwealth title in the 100 back and a World Junior title in the 200 back later on. He holds best times of 24.58, 52.95, and 1:56.05 in the long course 50/100/200 back events respectively, with his 100 back time being an African record.

And while conversions from long course to short course aren’t entirely accurate, Coezte’s long course times converted to yards show that he has a chance to make an immediate impact for Cal as a freshman. Both his 100 back and 200 back times are just over a tenth of a second off the time it took to make the ‘A’ final at 2022 NCAAs, whereas his 20.52 50 back time makes him a strong candidate to take over Bjorn Seeliger‘s spot on the 200 medley relay once he graduates. In fact, Coetze’s arrival comes the season after Seeliger and Destin Lasco, the team’s two fastest backstrokers, are set to graduate (if they don’t take a fifth year).

Coetze’s Converted Best Times (LCM to SCY):

  • 50 back — 20.52
  • 100 back — 44.87
  • 200 back — 1:39.67
  • 100 free — 43.56

Coezte’s commitment to Cal further extends the school’s reputation in backstroke, which has historically been their strongest event discipline. Last year, the Golden Bears scored 86.5 out of their 320.5 individual points in the 100 and 200 back events alone, en route to winning the national title.

South Africa has seen several of their young swimmers come to the United States to swim NCAA recently. The prime example is Matt Sates, who spent a semester with Georgia last season and won a national title, but then chose to go pro and return to South Africa almost immediately after. Another South African that will soon be in the NCAA is Olympian Aimee Canny, who is set to arrive at UVA in the spring semester of the 2022-23 season.

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Lol @ age hijinx
1 year ago

LOL he was born May 2004.

Will be well over 20 years old for his first meet as a “freshman” lololol.

JeahBrah
1 year ago

And they got Nick Mahabir today too. Ok maybe the guy saying this would be a historic recruiting class for Cal was right after all…

Andrew
Reply to  JeahBrah
1 year ago

yep, i was right all along

American
1 year ago

The foreign invasion continues!

PVK
1 year ago

Not sure where to post this, but Anthony Grimm has officially hung up his suit. 🙁

PFA
1 year ago

Congrats to Pieter. Can be really wrong about this but now I’m not sure why but I have a sneaky feeling that diehl is going to go to cal.

Robbie
1 year ago

Best wishes for your training and racing leading up to Paris. Congratulations on your college decision. Enjoy your time in and out of the pool in Berkeley.

Calbearfan
1 year ago

Well that’s a pretty good addition. Wow. Go Bears!

your moms santa
1 year ago

damn I wanted him to swim with Bjorn

h2olover
Reply to  your moms santa
1 year ago

All you have to do is tell Dave Durden to convince Bjorn to stay for a grad program and use his “Covid” 5th year of eligibility.

Argentina on top 🇦🇷
Reply to  h2olover
1 year ago

Björn doesn’t have a 5th year of eligibility. Covid didn’t impact his situation. During the first part of 2020, he was in Sweden training normally with his club.

Freshman year: 2021, Sophomore: 2022, Junior: 2023, Senior: 2024

Admin
Reply to  Argentina on top 🇦🇷
1 year ago

The COVID 5th year was awarded based on 2020-2021 season participation, not the 2019-2020 season where NCAAs was canceled.

Bjorn does get a 5th year if he wants it.

Argentina on top 🇦🇷
Reply to  Braden Keith
1 year ago

Wrong. It’s the other way around. If you were swimming in the 2019-2020 season then you get an extra year. (eg. Reece Whitley ). Athletes who came to the NCAA in September 2020 will have a normal career.

You can only swim in 4 NCAAs. This 2023 is his 3rd season. He can swim in 2025 if he takes a redshirt year.

Admin
Reply to  Argentina on top 🇦🇷
1 year ago

I hate to repeat myself, but your statement is incorrect. Only spring sports got an extra year for 2019-2020. Swimmers can absolutely swim at 5 NCAA Championships, and some undoubtedly will given the popularity so far of using the 5th year.

The idea behind the 5th year was not a ‘makeup’ for the swimmers whose championship was canceled, but preventative to prevent more teams from canceling the 2020-2021 season.

The obvious giveaway is that none of the 2019-2020 seniors, who missed NCAAs, swam at the 2021 NCAs. But if that’s not good enough evidence to you, here’s more:

https://www.ncsasports.org/coronavirus-sports/ncaa-eligibility-coronavirus
https://www.ncaa.org/news/2020/3/30/division-i-council-extends-eligibility-for-student-athletes-impacted-by-covid-19.aspx – “Winter sports… Read more »

About Yanyan Li

Yanyan Li

Although Yanyan wasn't the greatest competitive swimmer, she learned more about the sport of swimming by being her high school swim team's manager for four years. She eventually ventured into the realm of writing and joined SwimSwam in January 2022, where she hopes to contribute to and learn more about …

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