Dune Coetzee Swims 4:42 in the 500 Free as Georgia Sweeps Swimming Races Versus GT

Braden Keith
by Braden Keith 8

October 12th, 2023 ACC, College, News, SEC

Georgia vs. Georgia Tech

  • October 11, 2023
  • Gabrielsen Natatorium, Athens, Georgia
  • Short Course Yards (25 yards)
  • Meet Results
  • Team Scores:
    • #14 Georgia W def. Georgia Tech 189-109 (Exhibition aided)
    • #10 Georgia M def. Georgia Tech 198-100 (Exhibition aided)

The Georgia Bulldogs swept Georgia Tech in a mid-week affair in Athens. The Georgia women are now 3-0 on the season, while the Georgia men picked up their first win after losing back-to-back dual meets to Arizona State in September.

Georgia exhibitioned the 400 free relays to keep scoring artificially close.

Men’s Recap

Key swims:

  • Georgia’s Brad Dunham swam 1:43.04 in the 200 back.
  • Georgia’s Jake Magahey swam 9:00.79 in the 1000 free, ranking him 3rd in the NCAA, while Georgia Tech’s Mert Kilavuz swam 9:03.46, ranking him 4th this season.

The Georgia men dominated this meet wire-to-wire, touching first in every swimming event of the day, but their biggest statements came in the backstroke races.

An area of depth for the Bulldogs this season, they squared off against Georiga Tech’s best this year, junior Berke Saka, and finished 1-2-3 in both the 100 and 200.

In the 100, 5th year Brad Dunham won in 47.30, followed by transfer Ruard van Renen (47.44) and Wesley Ng (48.32).

Saka, who was Georgia Tech’s highest scorer at last year’s ACC Championship meet, placed 4th in 48.74. He was 4th in that race at ACCs.

In the 200 back, Georgia again went 1-2-3, this time led by Ian Grum in 1:43.04. After a breakout summer in long course, Grum has carried momentum over to the short course season; he swam 1:41.25 in the team’s opener against Arizona State, which is a time he didn’t hit last year until the SEC Championship meet.

On Wednesday, he was followed by Dunham (1:45.65) and Mitchell Norton (1:47.14), all ahead of Saka’s 1:48.00.

Saka was 5th in that event at last year’s ACC Championships.

A slow start to the season is not necessarily doom for Saka, though. His times are still better than he was to open last season (1:48.42, 1:49.76 in his first two meets) and he was 1:47-low against Florida State two weeks ago, so he’s well ahead of his own pace.

While Georgia’s talent was overwhelming in this meet, Saka leads a young team that returns most of their talent from last season. They have also added Max Fowler, who gave the Yellow Jackets both of their wins on Wednesday in the diving events. They finished 8th at last year’s ACC Championship meet.

Georgia Tech had four runner-up finishes in swimming events:

  • Mert Kilavuz finished 2nd in the 1000 free (9:03.46).
  • Nils Bognar swam 1:49.83 in the 200 IM
  • Joao Caballero finished 2nd in the 200 breast (2:02.68) and 100 breast (55.47)

Kilavuz’s time ranks him 4th in the NCAA so far this season behind, among others, Jake Magahey of Georgia, who won on Wednesday in 9:00.79. That ranks him 3rd this year behind a pair of (better) 9:00s from Ilia Sibirtsev and Tyler Watson of Louisville.

Other Highlights:

  • Steven Insixengmay, who didn’t make Georgia’s roster for the SEC Championships last year, is emerging as a crucial piece as the team’s #1 breaststroker this year. He split 24.55 on the 200 medley relay, which Georgia won in 1:27.41; won the 100 breaststroke in 55.09; and was 5th in the 200 breaststroke in 2:05.37. That puts him well ahead of last year’s pace, where he was 54.36 at the year-ending Bulldog NCAA Qualifying Meet, but opened in just 57.2 and 57.4 in early October. Georgia’s second-year head coach Neil Versfeld was himself a world-class breaststroker, and the team is beginning to take on his image.
  • Grum added a 1:45.90 win in the 200 fly to his win in the 200 back. Magahey was 2nd in 1:46.35.
  • While the Georgia sprint crew is a weakness this year, backstroker Brad Dunham will help in the relays. He split 43.78 on the anchor leg of the Bulldogs’ 400 free relay to end the meet. The team touched in 2:57.42. That came after a 21.83 leadoff on the 200 medley relay.

Women’s Recap

Key Swims:

  • Georgia’s Dune Coetzee won the 500 free in 4:42.29, the #2 time in the NCAA this season.
  • Georgia’s Zoie Hartman won the 200 back in 1:57.70.
  • Georgia’s Abby McCulloh won the 1000 free in 9:44.08

The Georgia women swept the day’s events including diving, with the highlights coming from junior Dune Coetzee. An All-American last season in the 500 free and one of a tight, but good, core of returning contributors, she won the 200 free in 1:47.06 and the 500 free in 4:42.29.

Her 500 free is 4.5 seconds better than she was against Arizona State and already faster than she was last season pre-SEC Championships.

That swim is the 2nd-best in the NCAA this season behind only Rachel Stege, who swam 4:41.31 against Arizona State.

That was part of a big session for the Georgia freestyle crew that included wins in the 1000 free (Abby McCulloh, 9:44.08), 50 free (Sloane Reinstein, 23.19) and 100 free (freshman Helena Jones, 49.25).

“I thought we did a really great job at the meet today,” Tom Cousins Women’s Swimming & Diving Head Coach Stefanie Williams Moreno said following the meet. “In particular, just having it be a Pink Out and one of my former teammates, Melissa Bateman Price, as our honorary captain for the day was fantastic.”

The Georgia women bookended the day’s relays. They began with a 1:40.95 in the 200 medley relay and finished the day with a 3:21.80 in the 400 free relay. The highlight split was a 22.37 anchor from Jones on the 200 medley relay.

  • Editor’s note: while not confirmed, context clues indicate there is an error in splitting in the women’s 400 free relay, and Eboni McCarty did not anchor in 48.12. That is based on Helena Jones swimming 49.2 on a flat-start in the individual 100 free, so we assume she didn’t split 52 on the relay.

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I miss the ISL
8 months ago

Could yall not have found a better picture of Dune lol? This is like when yall used that pic of Kaylee Mckeown spitting water like 5 times

Emily Se-Bom Lee
Reply to  I miss the ISL
8 months ago

this one ages kyle by about 20 years

comment image

Last edited 8 months ago by Emily Se-Bom Lee
Reply to  Emily Se-Bom Lee
8 months ago

There was also a classic of kira toussaint which I think she actually commented was awful

Last edited 8 months ago by Swimmer
Comfy Pants
8 months ago

DUNE!!! Great swims.

Last edited 8 months ago by Meredyth Neilly
Lap Counter
8 months ago

The relay was exhibition but otherwise should have been dq for going out of order (re editors note).
Coetze broke out this past summer LC! Very impressive times!

I miss the ISL
8 months ago

Coetzee went 4:40.8 at NCAAs, in the A final, suited, and tapered. Here, she went 4:42.2 in October, unsuited, untapered, in a dual meet. That is very promising.

8 months ago

You might want to correct Dune’s time in the 200 fly–pretty sure it was not a 1.47!

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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