Matt Sates Scorches 3:37.92 For New World Junior Record In 400 Free (SCM)


Matt Sates wasted no time in making his presence felt at the second leg of the FINA World Cup in Budapest.

After a standout performance at the opening leg in Berlin, the 18-year-old South African kept the ball rolling on the opening night of finals in the Hungarian capital, lowering the World Junior Record in the men’s 400 freestyle.

Sates back-ended the race in a big way, allowing Lithuanian Danas Rapsys to go out on his own early on, with Sates flipping over three seconds back of Rapsys at the 200 (1:46.03 to 1:49.18).

However, Sates began to turn the jets on after that, out-splitting Rapsys on every 50 to ultimately overtake him on the last length with a scintillating split of 26.36.

Sates’ final time showed 3:37.92, edging out the World Junior Record of 3:38.00 set by Australian Thomas Neill at the 2020 Queensland Championships. Rapsys was just over four-tenths back for second in 3:38.29.

Sates ended up negative-splitting the race, 1:49.19/1:48.74, while Rapsys recorded 200 splits of 1:46.03/1:52.26.

Split Comparison, New vs Old Best Time

In Berlin, Sates placed second to Rapsys (3:38.19) in what was a personal best time of 3:40.28, splitting the race in the same manner as he did today (1:51.10/1:49.18).

Sates, Berlin Sates, Budapest
25.16 25.03
28.40 (53.56) 27.53 (52.56)
28.67 (1:22.23) 28.16 (1:20.72)
28.87 (1:51.10) 28.46 (1:49.18)
27.79 (2:18.89) 27.79 (2:16.97)
28.51 (2:47.40) 27.75 (2:44.72)
26.84 (3:14.24) 26.84 (3:11.56)
26.04 (3:40.28) 26.36 (3:37.92)

Split Comaprison, Sates vs Neill

Relative to the way Neill swam the race, Sates was about a second and a half back at the 200, but really made up ground coming home, specifically on the third 50.

Neill, 2020 Sates, 2021
25.43 25.03
27.12 (52.55) 27.53 (52.56)
27.43 (1:19.98) 28.16 (1:20.72)
27.72 (1:47.70) 28.46 (1:49.18)
27.91 (2:15.61) 27.79 (2:16.97)
27.89 (2:43.50) 27.75 (2:44.72)
27.82 (3:11.32) 26.84 (3:11.56)
26.68 (3:38.00) 26.36 (3:37.92)

Sates has now set three World Junior Records in the month of October, lowering marks in the SCM 200 free (1:40.65) and 200 IM (1:51.45) at the Berlin stop.

Both of those swims also stood as new African Continental and South African National Records, but he fell shy of both in the 400 free. The current South African Record stands at 3:37.91 from Myles Brown in 2013, while Tunisian Ous Mellouli holds the African Record at 3:36.75 from 2008.

Prior to his swim in Berlin, Sates’ best time stood at 3:41.03, set in September at the South African Championships. The soon-to-be Georgia Bulldog is the second seed in the men’s 100 IM final later in the session.

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2 years ago

Commented on another post, but on the Brett Hawke podcast he said he is right now planning on still going to Georgia, but will see what the near future holds

Reply to  CanSwim13
2 years ago

His answer wasn’t completely convincing with Brett!!!!

2 years ago

Rapsys is starting to look like the Le Clos of the 400 free

2 years ago

He’s on 🔥. Not often you see the same guy win the 400 free and the 100 IM in the same session.

2 years ago

Jake Magahey punching the air rn

Reply to  Guy
2 years ago

He’s about to get one of the best training partners he can ask for. I have a feeling this is how we can get to the elusive sub 4 minute 500 free.

Reply to  PFA
2 years ago

Neither of those guys is breaking 4. At the absolute best, one of them hits 4:02-4:03 by the time their college career is over

2 years ago

Can’t wait too see what he does in yards in NCAA competition.

Reply to  WahooSwimFan
2 years ago

More eager to see what he can do in long course.

Reply to  whever
2 years ago

The takeaway here: WE WANT MORE MATT SATES

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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