Pieter Coetze Lowers 200 Back PB On Night 3 Of South African Olympic Trials


In addition to Tatjana Smith‘s head-turning performance in the women’s 200m breast, several other key South Africans dove in for day 3 finals of the nation’s Olympic Trials.

20-year-old Aimee Canny powered her way to a victory in the women’s 200m free, clocking a time of 1:57.39 to get to the wall first.

Splitting 27.19/29.05/30.31/30.84 the Virginia swimmer represented one of two swimmers to delve under 2:00 territory. Joining her was 21-year-old Dune Coetzee who swims for Georgia, punching a result of 1:59.63.

Canny’s outing checks in as a lifetime best, overwriting the 1:57.82 registered at least year’s edition of this competition. She remains South Africa’s #2 performer of all-time, sitting only behind retired Karin Prinsloo who owns the national record with the 1:57.17 put on the books in 2014.

However, Canny’s result this evening fell painstakingly shy of the 1:57.26 World Aquatics Olympic Qualification Time (‘A’ cut).

Reflecting on how close she came, Canny stated, “It was OK. Obviously I’m a little sad. But I need to stay motivated for the rest of the week. I have the 200 IM on the last day so I’m excited for that.”

Following up on his 200m fly victory from last night, 20-year-old Matt Sates earned the 200m free gold medal this evening.

Sates stopped the clock at 1:48.82 as one of three competitors under the 1:50 barrier.

Joining him in a big-time personal best was 16-year-old Kris Mihaylov.

Mihaylov sneaked into the final as the 8th-seeded swimmer with an AM swim of 1:52.92. Come tonight’s main event, Mihaylov found another gear to secure silver in 1:49.66. Ricky Lottering rounded out the podium in 1:49.69.

19-year-old World Championships bronze medalist Pieter Coetze booked his ticket for Paris in the men’s 200m back.

Coetze ripped a new lifetime best of 1:55.85 to easily clear the 1:57.50 QT needed for Paris. His previous PB rested at the 1:55.99 established at this year’s World Championships and he remains South Africa’s #2 performer in history.

Post-race, Coetze told Swimming South Africa, “I’m still learning how to pace it [the 200m backstroke]. It’s a tough thing because there are so many ways you can do it.

“Some people take it out very fast, and just try and hold on. Other people, including myself, normally try and save a little bit for the last 100 or last 50.

“I’ve been trying to try different things and I’ll find what works for me and by the time Paris comes around, I’ll have my strategy mapped out.”

As a refresher, Tuks swimmer Coetze was originally committed to swim at Cal in the fall of 2024 but changed his mind and decided to stay in South Africa.

Additional Notes

  • 20-year-old Matthew Randle won the men’s 200m breast in 2:14.01.
  • Hannah Pearse stopped the clock in 2:12.19 to take gold in the women’s 200m back.

South African Olympic Qualifiers Through Day 3 Of Trials

  • Tatjana Schoenmaker – women’s 200m breast (2:19.01)
  • Kaylene Corbett – women’s 200m breast (2:23.71)
  • Pieter Coetze – men’s 200m back (1:55.85)

Leave a Reply

Notify of

oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
1 month ago

Is this meet the only chance for athletes to qualify for Paris?

Reply to  Danjohnrob
1 month ago

If nobody gets a QT here they look at other meets but you still need to swim in the final here.

1 month ago

Have South Africa qualified any relays?

1 month ago

What are his splits?

Reply to  Swammer
1 month ago

The meet is on meet mobile but slow in posting

Reply to  Swammer
1 month ago

56.4 59.4

About Retta Race

Retta Race

Former Masters swimmer and coach Loretta (Retta) thrives on a non-stop but productive schedule. Nowadays, that includes having just earned her MBA while working full-time in IT while owning French 75 Boutique while also providing swimming insight for BBC.

Read More »