Faster Than Murphy, South Africa’s 16-Yr-Old Coetze Clocks 53.62 100 Back

2021 SOUTH AFRICAN NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS

Just days ago, Japan’s youngest Olympic swimming team member since 2012 made the squad in 17-year-old Konosuke Yanagimoto in the men’s 800m free relay. Last night, South Africa topped that with an even younger constituent in the form of 16-year-old Pieter Coetzé.

Competing in the men’s medley relay, which was the final event on the final night of competition at the 2021 South African National Championships, Coetzé fired off the best time of his life leading off in the backstroke. Getting to the wall in a time of 53.62, Coetzé scorched his previous career-quickest en route to qualifying for his first Olympic Games.

Entering these championships, the Tuks swimmer’s personal best in the 100m back rested at 55.19, a mark which he already brought down nearly a second to 54.25 to take the individual title here at Newton Park. That time rendered the teen less than half a second away from the FINA ‘A’ cut of 53.85 needed to qualify for the postponed Olympic Games.

Making the most of his final opportunity, the Rocco Meiring-trained budding star crushed a massive 53.62 to lead off his squad’s relay. Opening in 25.96 and bringing it home in 27.66, Coetzé comfortably cleared the aforementioned A cut to add his name to the South African roster for Tokyo.

In doing so, Coetzé rocketed himself up the list of all-time South African 100m backstroke performers, now situated only behind national record holder Chris Reid and his national tandard of 53.12.

For additional perspective, Coetzé’s time would rank as a new National Age Record in the United States for men aged 15-16. His outing is faster than the NAG held by Olympic champion Ryan Murphy at 53.76 from the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials.

Coetzé says his Olympic qualifying ‘means the world.’

He told SwimSwam today, “The last year has been tough and I’m proud to say I’ve pushed through and trained harder than I ever have. Qualifying is just the result of the work I’ve been putting in over the years and I’m so grateful that it paid off.”

He now ranks 10th in the world at just 16 years of age.

2020-2021 LCM Men 100 Back

EvgenyRUS
Rylov
04/05
52.12
2Kliment
Kolesnikov
RUS52.2404/05
3Xu
Jiayu
CHN52.3503/07
4Mitch
Larkin
AUS52.7512/13
5Thomas
Ceccon
ITA52.8412/17
6Grigory
Tarasevich
RUS52.9304/05
7Yohann Ndoye
Brouard
FRA52.9703/19
8Ryosuke
Irie
JPN53.0412/04
9Ryan
Murphy
USA53.1104/10
10Mewen
Tomac
FRA53.1903/19
View Top 26»

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Cacrushers
1 month ago

Should the russian boys be in those rankings?

Rafael
1 month ago

I think we can be pretty sure that Jefimova will be the youngest swimmer in Tokyo right?

On men side, the DOB must be seen but there are a line of 16 years old who can qualify (Can´t remember if there is a 15 year old)

But, overall that was a pretty impressive swim

Hswimmer
Reply to  Rafael
1 month ago

How old is Pillato?

Rafael
Reply to  Hswimmer
1 month ago

Pilate is 16 year old already.. Jefimova will still be 14 at OG…

Hswimmer
Reply to  Rafael
1 month ago

14 dang didn’t know she was that young

Rafael
Reply to  Hswimmer
1 month ago

DOB dec 2006

Khachaturian
1 month ago

New font on the swimswam lists?

About Retta Race

Retta Race

After 16 years at a Fortune 1000 financial company, long-time swimmer Retta Race decided to change lanes and pursue her sporting passion. She currently is Coach for the Northern KY Swordfish Masters, a team she started up in December 2013, while also offering private coaching. Retta is also an MBA …

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