Swim of the Week: Matt Sates Outduels Chalmers For Scorching 1:40.6 SC 200 Free

Disclaimer: Swim of the Week is not meant to be a conclusive selection of the best overall swim of the week, but rather one Featured Swim to be explored in deeper detail. The Swim of the Week is an opportunity to take a closer look at the context of one of the many fast swims this week, perhaps a swim that slipped through the cracks as others grabbed the headlines, or a race we didn’t get to examine as closely in the flood of weekly meets.

Between the FINA World Cup, the ISL Play-In Match and college meets beginning to ramp up, there has been no shortage of blazing-fast swims thrown down over the last week.

South African teenager Matt Sates has been absolutely going off at the World Cup, breaking three World Junior Records, but his most impressive swim to date has undoubtedly been his victory in Berlin in the men’s 200 freestyle.

Sates, 18, outduelled accomplished international swimmers Kyle Chalmers and Danas Rapsys en route to the victory, blazing to a time of 1:40.65 to become the sixth-fastest man in the event’s history.

Sates is also now the fourth-fastest swimmer of all-time in a textile suit, and an argument can be made that this is the quickest textile time ever produced at a “non-championship meet,” with the others having been set by Yannick Agnel at the 2012 French SC Championships and by Duncan Scott and Townley Haas in the 2020 ISL Grand Final.

All-Time Performers

  1. Paul Biedermann (GER), 1:39.37 – 2009 FINA World Cup (Berlin)
  2. Yannick Agnel (FRA), 1:39.70 – 2012 French SC Championships (Angers)
  3. Danila Izotov (RUS), 1:40.08 – 2009 European SC Championships (Istanbul)
  4. Duncan Scott (GBR), 1:40.25 – 2020 ISL Grand Final (Budapest)
  5. Townley Haas (USA), 1:40.49 – 2020 ISL Grand Final (Budapest)
  6. Matt Sates (RSA), 1:40.65 – 2021 FINA World Cup (Berlin)
  7. Brent Hayden (CAN) / Cameron McEvoy (AUS), 1:40.80 – 2009 FINA World Cup (Berlin) / 2015 Australian SC Championships
  8. Kyle Chalmers (AUS), 1:40.82 – 2021 FINA World Cup (Berlin)
  9. Danas Rapsys (LTU), 1:40.85 – 2017 European SC Championships (Copenhagen)

Sates’ swim was also the seventh-fastest performance ever, with only world record holder Paul Biedermann owning two swims faster.

All-Time Performances

  1. Paul Biedermann (GER), 1:39.37 – 2009 FINA World Cup (Berlin)
  2. Yannick Agnel (FRA), 1:39.70 – 2012 French SC Championships (Angers)
  3. Paul Biedermann (GER), 1:39.81 – 2009 European SC Championships (Istanbul)
  4. Danila Izotov (RUS), 1:40.08 – 2009 European SC Championships (Istanbul)
  5. Duncan Scott (GBR), 1:40.25 – 2020 ISL Grand Final (Budapest)
  6. Townley Haas (USA), 1:40.49 – 2020 ISL Grand Final (Budapest)
  7. Matt Sates (RSA), 1:40.65 – 2021 FINA World Cup (Berlin)
  8. Duncan Scott (GBR), 1:40.76 – 2021 ISL Semi-Final 1 (Budapest)
  9. Brent Hayden (CAN) / Cameron McEvoy (AUS), 1:40.80 – 2009 FINA World Cup (Berlin) / 2015 Australian SC Championships

Chalmers, to his credit, also posted a blazing-fast time of 1:40.82, becoming the ninth-fastest performer of all-time, and Rapsys, who owns a PB of 1:40.85 from 2017, wasn’t far back in 1:41.17.

The splitting in the race was fascinating, with Chalmers inching ahead early, but Sates turning on the afterburners on for the third 50, splitting 25.63 to take over the lead before holding off the Aussie with a 25.51 closer. Chalmers was home in 25.24, while Rapsys rocketed his way to the wall in 25.15, but the damage was done by Sates on that third 50, where both Chalmers and Rapsys were more than half a second slower.

Split Comparison

Sates Chalmers Rapsys
23.58 23.57 23.79
25.93 (49.51) 25.83 (49.40) 25.96 (49.75)
25.63 (1:15.14) 26.18 (1:15.68) 26.27 (1:16.02)
25.51 (1:40.65) 1:40.82 (25.24) 1:41.17 (25.15)

Making Sates’ swim even more incredible was the fact that he won the 400 IM in an elite time of 4:01.98 earlier in the same session. His 200 free time shattered the World Junior Record of 1:41.75, set by Russian Kliment Kolesnikov in 2017, and lowered the African and South African Records of 1:40.89 set by Darian Townsend in 2009.

Sates also broke the 200 IM World Junior and African Records in Berlin, clocking 1:51.45, and kept things rolling by breaking another WJR in the 400 free (3:37.92) on the opening day of the Budapest stop.

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SHRKB8
1 month ago

Yep, truly world class 🙌. Exciting things ahead for this young man.

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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