Coetzé is pure gold in swimming pool


Pieter Coetzé, South Africa’s rising swimming hero, won another gold medal at the national swimming championship in Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth).

He was first in an exciting 100 m freestyle race and settled with, among others, Chad le Clos and Guy Brooks.

Coetzé’s winning time was 49.12 s, followed by Le Clos (49.34 s) and Brooks (49.42 s).

“I’m someone who likes to win, but this victory tastes so much sweeter with Chad and Guy who were also on their pieces,” said the Commonwealth champion.

Coetzé is more famous for his backstroke achievements, but he is looking to fit more swimming sessions into his schedule these days.

The freestyle triumph certainly makes for a satisfied smile.

“I would have liked to set a 48-second time, but we didn’t have much rest in the run-up to the event. I have the Olympic Games in my sights and I’m in good spirits with my performance.”

With Le Clos deciding to concentrate on his freestyle prowess instead, Matt Sates reigned supreme in the 200m butterfly event.

The 20-year-old swimmer’s winning time of 1:56.99 min was more than six seconds faster than Dylan Wright’s second place performance of 2:03.12 min.

“It was always fun to swim with Chad and I was disappointed that he was not in action. The plan was now to swim at the same pace, but I lost a bit of steam in the darts,” said Sates.

On Monday, Erin Gallagher broke a new South African record in the 50 m butterfly when she completed the event in a blistering 25.59 s.

“I felt very good beforehand and when you’re in a mood like that, it’s important to grab your opportunity with both hands,” said Gallagher.

However, she finished second in the 100 m freestyle after Aimee Canny (54.65 s) walked away with the laurels.

Then Tatjana Smith also struck a blow when she completed the 50 m breaststroke session in a time of 30.09 s.