The Citizen (KZN)

Coetze rakes in his fourth gold

SA CHAMPS: ADDS 100M BACKSTROKE TITLE TO HAUL

- Wesley Bo on

Continuing his domestic dominance in the pool, 19-year-old Pieter Coetze added another title to his rapidly growing collection last night by winning the men’s 100 metre backstroke final on day four of the SA Swimming Championsh­ips in Gqeberha.

Coetze completed the twolength race in 52.89 seconds, touching the wall just 0.11 outside his own national record (52.78) as he again dipped under the qualifying standard for this year’s Paris Olympics.

He finished comfortabl­y clear of Ruard van Renen, who took second place in 54.50, with Henju Duvenhage grabbing third spot in 55.25.

“My body’s starting to feel the racing, so to get under 53 seconds was nice,” Coetze said after the race.

“Obviously it would have been nice to get a PB (personal best) and the record, but going under 53, I have to be happy with that.”

The only South African medallist at the recent World Aquatics Championsh­ips in Doha, Coetze has been tipped as one of the country’s best podium prospects for the Paris Olympics in July.

He was pleased with the form he is showing and credited his support base in Pretoria for his success thus far in 2024, which included four gold medals over the first four days of competitio­n in Gqeberha.

“My whole life has to be consistent. My recovery, my training, everything. But I’ve got such a nice set-up at Tuks. The whole team is so supportive and I’m really having fun there,” said Coetze.

In other men’s finals last night, Matthew Caldwell won the men’s 400m freestyle (3:54.27) and Kian Keylock triumphed in the men’s 400m individual medley (4:25.06).

Among the women, 17-year-old Milla Drakopoulo­s won the 100m backstroke (1:01.70), while Dune Coetzee took the 400m freestyle (4:09.43), while Dakota Tucker took the 400m individual medley gold in 4:47.09.

 ?? Picture: Gallo Images ?? KICKBACK. Pieter Coetze flies off the boards on his way to winning gold in the 100 metre backstroke on day four of the SA National Swimming Championsh­ips in Gqeberha yesterday.
Picture: Gallo Images KICKBACK. Pieter Coetze flies off the boards on his way to winning gold in the 100 metre backstroke on day four of the SA National Swimming Championsh­ips in Gqeberha yesterday.

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