World Jr. Record-Holder Matt Sates Arrives In Georgia Friday, 1-Month From SECs

South African Olympian and world junior record-holder Matt Sates has confirmed that he is en route to Athens where he will officially join forces with the University of Georgia Bulldogs.

Sates originally planned to arrive in Athens on January 10, but a snafu with his flights delayed that by a week.

“I was lucky enough to get my student visa and was actually meant to be in Georgia as we speak,” Sates told SwimSwam early Friday morning. He misread his original flight as being a PM flight, when in fact it was an AM flight, though, so he missed it.

He wound up rebooking and messaged SwimSwam on Friday morning from the airport in Amsterdam awaiting his connecting flight to Atlanta.

Sates intends to waste no time and will jump into full training on Saturday morning. He says he’s looking forward to training with his teammates on Friday, specifically mentioning Luca Urlando and NCAA Champion Jake Magahey.

Sates originally announced his plans to swim at Georgia back in July 2020. Upon arrival at Georgia, he will be able to begin training immediately, which gives him roughly a month of training before the 2022 SEC Championships.

The team’s only remaining dual meets between now and the SEC Championships are a dual meet against Tennessee on Saturday, January 22, and another against Emory on Saturday, January 29.

Because of canceled meets, there is some flexibility for the team to add a meet to its schedule just for the purpose of getting him more opportunities to race in yards before championship season.

The versatile national record holder had a breakout fall when he pulled off multiple medal-winning swims at the 2021 FINA World Cup Series. There, he went up against some of the world’s best freestylers and IMers including Daiya Seto, Danas Rapsys, and Kyle Chalmers. He walked away with new short course world junior records in the 200 freestyle (1:40.65), 400 freestyle (3:37.92), and 200 IM (1:51.45).

Sates hasn’t raced short course yards before, but his dominance in the short course meters pool indicates that he could be a potential medal contender in a number of events. Sates told SwimSwam that he is excited to begin training, joining the likes of butterfly standout Luca Urlando, 2021 NCAA 500 freestyle champion Jake Magahey.

Best Times:

50 free 22.88 21.93 19.75
100 free 49.29 47.14 42.46
200 free 1:48.08 1:40.65 1:30.67
400 free 3:59.15 3:37.92 4:09.05
200 IM 1:57.60 1:51.45 1:40.40

Sates Converted Times Relative To 2021 NCAA Championships Podium:

2021 NCAA Gold 2021 NCAA Silver 2021 NCAA Bronze
50 free 19.75 18.33 18.71 18.88
100 free 42.46 40.89 41.59 NA
200 free 1:30.67 1:30.10 1:30.39 1:31.55
400 free 4:09.05 4:07.97 4:08.07 4:09.54
200 IM 1:40.40 1:39.53 1:39.99 1:40.01

The University of Georgia has a rich of history developing elite IMers, as well as up-and-coming South African juniors. 2/3 of the Tokyo 2020 podium in the 400 IM were former Bulldogs (and current Georgia pros) in Chase Kalisz and Jay Litherland. Sates will be one of three South African swimmers on the roster this year, joining freshman Henre Louw and Dune Coetzee.

In This Story

Leave a Reply

Notify of
oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
3 months ago

Rumour has it that Hwang got an invitation from one of the US college teams for training. Any possibility that it is Georgia?

3 months ago

Would he be competing against Tennessee this weekend or is he gonna get some training in for a week and go against Emory?

Parent of swimmer
3 months ago

How late in a season can swimmers join a team? Seems a little late.

Reply to  Parent of swimmer
3 months ago

Unless a conference championship meet has qualifying times, there’s no limit.

Hugo Gonzalez’s first meet for Cal was the Pac-12 Championships:

3 months ago

I see that classes started on January 9th. Does this indicate that Jack Bauerle is still playing fast and loose with academic integrity? It seems that their student athletes should be attending classes in order to train. Maybe he’s taking his online?

Reply to  Oldmanswimmer
3 months ago

UGA and many other schools resumed classes virtually so it is hard to know when he enrolled or if he is taking classes online.

Working swim mom
Reply to  Swammom
3 months ago

UGA did not resume classes virtually. They have been in person since the start of the year this fall. Spring semester was no exception.

Due to the National Championship Football game, a LOT of classes were cancelled the first week. Also, there is still enough covid/flu going around that a number of students are absent/attending virtually. It may be that the academic advisors made arrangements for virtual attendance?

Reply to  Working swim mom
3 months ago

I can ask, but my guess is that, while the semester is not virtual, that there is still a virtual option being offered.

Reply to  Working swim mom
3 months ago

I believe that virtul was an option for certain classes and circumstances.

Last edited 3 months ago by BDCSWIM
Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  Working swim mom
3 months ago

I’m surprised they didn’t cancel classes for the rest of the year after the FB team beat Bama.

Reply to  Swammom
3 months ago

They didn’t start virtually! He may have taken a virtual option but UGA did NOT start the semester online! Where did you get your info?

3 months ago

Guessing he’ll swim 200IM, 200 free, and then kind of up in the air on a third event. Also, wouldn’t be surprised to see him take breaststroke duties on the medley relays.

Ng/Grum, Sates, Urlando, Downing

Big Mac #1
Reply to  Swimm
3 months ago

Possibly the 500 if it doesn’t conflict

Reply to  Big Mac #1
3 months ago

It conflicts pretty heavily against the 200 IM. Sates is one of those guys who really gets the short end of the stick in regards to having primary events be close together in the meet lineup.

IU Swammer
3 months ago

200 free/400 IM would be an insane double. I’d love to see someone try it, but there’s no way. With him on the 800 relay, I bet he picks the 400. On the other hand, with training interruptions, the 200 may be the better option.

Swimswam enthusiast
3 months ago


Reply to  Swimswam enthusiast
3 months ago

I thought that was a Baylor thing?

Reply to  Braden Keith
3 months ago

what planet have you been on braden?

3 months ago

Anyone else agree a 1:48 LCM 2 free does not equate a 1:30..? Maybe that 1:40 SCM does

Reply to  Thomas
3 months ago

All of those conversions are definitely from SCM as he’s faster there.

Reply to  Thomas
3 months ago

1:40 scm is like going 1:44 LC.