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Tuks Youth Olympic medallist off to the US

by ZwemZa on June 11th, 2020

Dune Coetzee (Twitter)

Duné Coetzee has not lost a 200m-butterfly race in South Africa since 2017, but she is not fooled by her performances; the Tuks swimmer knows she needs to be faster.

That is why the 18-year-old decided to go to the University of Georgia after next year’s Tokyo Olympic Games. She is not the first South African swimmer to go to Georgia. Neil Versfeld did so. As has Sarah Poewe and Wendy Trott. All three went on to become Olympians. Versveld is now an assistant coach at the university.

According to Coetzee, the decision to go to to the USA was not taken lightly.

“There were a lot of things I had to take into consideration, but in the end, I realised the best for me would be to go to the USA.”

The Tuks swimmer also dreams of competing at the Games. The challenge to do so is to improve on her best time by at least two seconds. For that to become a reality, she needs to be pushed to her limits more often.

Unfortunately winning the 200m-butterfly in South Africa has become a mere formality to Coetzee. She has been the South African senior and junior champion since 2017. As a way to ensure she does not get into a comfort zone, Coetzee resorted to testing herself against boys when training.

Her dedication has not gone unrewarded. Since 2017 to now she has improved her 200m-butterfly time from 2:12.52 to 2.10.89 last year. The Olympic qualification standard is 2:08.43.

Coetzee is aware of what needs to be done to gain that extra two seconds.

“I need to improve on my kick. It is of cardinal importance when competing in the butterfly. If I can improve on my endurance, it won’t be a bad thing. Actually, to be genuinely competitive means you can never afford to rest on your laurels. There is always something in your technique that can improve,” explained Coetzee who in 2018 won a silver medal at the Youth Olympic Games.

The ultimate for the Tuks swimmer will be to share the Tokyo Olympic Games experience with her current coach, Linda de Jager.

“I am not sure how many South African swimmers had gone to the Games being coached by a woman. I don’t think many. That is why it will be unique. As a coach, Linda taught me that success and discipline go hand in hand. She is also the one that made me believe in my abilities.”

Wilhelm de Swardt

From → African News

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