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First title of a targeted 12 for Sates at SA Short Course Championships

by ZwemZa on September 15th, 2021

Matt Sates (Facebook)

SA’s 18-year-old Olympian Matt Sates got his mammoth SA Short Course Championships campaign off to the perfect start in Pietermaritzburg, clinching victory in the men’s 800m freestyle.

Sates showed his versatility by claiming victory in the distance event by an impressive margin of almost six seconds.

He touched the wall in 7:51.71 with Danté Nortjé second in 7:57.16 and his Tuks teammate Roberto Gomes third in 8:05.90.

Competing in his home pool, Sates has set himself the daunting goal of winning 12 gold medals at these championships, and he’s confident he can achieve that.

“I learnt a lot from the Olympics, watching all the top swimmers do what they do so I’m just going to try and put what I learnt there into short course and see if anything’s different. I’m just testing the waters,” he said after his first victory of the meet.

“I’m swimming 12 races and I want to go unbeaten in all 12, so I want to get gold for all 12 races. There’s only one guy that can make a difference to that and that’s [fellow Olympian] Pieter Coetzé. He does well at the sprint events. I’m swimming the 100IM tomorrow but he’s the only guy who could dethrone me in that way so we’re looking forward to that. He’s a good guy to race against and one of my best friends in swimming,” added Sates.

The women’s 800m freestyle was won by 17-year-old Catherine van Rensburg from Tuks in 8:43.13 with her teammate Stephanie Houtman a close second in 8:43.92 and 16-year-old Hannah Robertson third in 8:51.61.

All three swimmers dipped under the B qualifying time for the World Short Course Championships in Abu Dhabi this December. If no swimmers reach the A qualifying time in the event before the cut-off date, swimmers with B qualifying times may be considered for selection.

“I wanted to swim a B qualifying time and I was happy that Stephanie was swimming next to me because she pushed me,” said Van Rensburg afterwards.

Asked what goes through her mind during the gruelling 32-length race, the Pretoria swimmer joked: “To be honest, not much – mostly just to keep my stroke nice and easy and about the end, when I can eat something.”

Action continues at the GC Jolliffe pool tomorrow with heats getting under way at 9:30am and the evening finals at 5pm.

Supplied by Swimming South Africa

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