Local swimmer Matt Sates added three more golds to his considerable haul on the penultimate day of the SA Short Course Championships.
First up was the 100m freestyle where he powered to victory in a time of 47.14 seconds, which also saw him claiming another A qualifying time for the World Short Course Championships in Abu Dhabi this December.
Guy Brooks was second in a B qualifying time of 48.53 – slightly slower than his time in the morning heat.
“I’m happy with that… I’m not really swimming for times, I’m just seeing how hard I can push myself,” said Sates.
Next up for the 18-year-old was the 50m butterfly, where he was once again going up against Pretoria rival and fellow Olympian Pieter Coetzé. Sates touched in 23.27 to take the title, with Coetzé second in 23.83 – although he was keen to race again after a blunder at the turn.
“It’s always fun racing the other events [apart from backstroke]. I had a bit of a slip on my turn in the fly so it would be nice to have a rematch,” he said with a smile.
The 17-year-old was later in action in a 200m backstroke time trial (as he was initially not entered into the individual event) which he finished in 1:51.40 to claim his fourth A qualifying time of the meet.
Meanwhile, Sates later added the 200m individual medley to his considerable collection of titles, claiming victory in 1:55.43 and just missing the A qualifying time for the World Championships by .18 of a second.
“That was a tough one. I hurt a lot on that race, it wasn’t the best, I think I missed my strokes a little bit, but it was all good. Hopefully I’ll go a bit faster in a couple of weeks,” he said afterwards.
Making her mark in the women’s 200m individual medley was Rebecca Meder. The 19-year-old claimed another victory in 2:10.63 – her second A qualifying time of the Championships.
“I’m happy with that. My PB is a 2:09 from last year but I can be stoked with a 2:10, especially after swimming the 100 free just under an hour ago,” said Meder, who has also qualified in the 100m individual medley. “I’m pretty happy with that. It’s an A qualifying time so I can’t be disappointed.”
Second-placed finisher in the 200m IM Dakota Tucker (2:14.24) and third-placed Emily Visagie (2:14.79) also dipped under the B qualifying times.
Meder had earlier achieved a B qualifier in the 100m freestyle, winning in a time of 54.87 seconds.
“It’s nice to see that I can do some fast times short course… when you’re having fun, a happy swimmer is a fast swimmer and I’m enjoying it,” she said.
Also bagging a B qualifier was Cape Town swimmer Hannah Pearse who was thrilled with her performance in winning the 200m backstroke title in 2:10.27.
“I knew my front-end speed was going to be there, so I just knew I had to believe in myself in the last 100 and just hang on. I’m so surprised,” said Pearse after the race.
Minke Janse van Rensburg was once again in record-breaking form in the 50m freestyle. Her time of 33.87 second in the evening final was even quicker than the new junior world record for swimmers with Down syndrome that she swam in the morning heats.
Cornelle Leach was also in sensational form, adding SA records in the SB12 100m breaststroke (1:25.36) and S12 50m freestyle (30.78) to the two other national marks she’s already set at this meet.
“Honestly I didn’t have much ambition. I didn’t make the Paralympic team and I worked really hard for it, but at this competition I just proved to myself that I am worth it and I’m definitely going for the next Paralympics,” she said. “I also swam a few unofficial qualifying times for the World Championships next year so I’m pretty excited – I’m back in the game and where I should be.”
Swimmers who have achieved World Short Course Championships A qualifying times:
Pieter Coetzé: 50, 100m & 200m backstroke, 100m individual medley
Rebecca Meder: 100m & 200m individual medley
Matt Sates: 100m, 200m & 400m freestyle, 100m butterfly
Lara van Niekerk: 50m & 200m breaststroke