Every South African a Swimmer

Sates secures first qualifying time at SA Swimming Championships

Sates secures first qualifying time at SA Swimming Championships
Rising SA swimming sensation Matt Sates claimed his first World Championships and Commonwealth Game qualification time on day two of the SA Swimming Championships in Gqeberha on Thursday.

The 18-year-old, who has been setting the US college circuit alight for the University of Georgia, won the 200m freestyle title in an impressive 1:46.15 to ensure he’s up for selection for the major championships later in the year.

“It was a good one. It’s my first gala long course since Olympics so I’m still getting used to it… but the more racing I do, the faster I’ll get,” he said afterwards.

Sates admitted to struggling with a shoulder injury, which kept him out of the 400m individual medley, also swum on Thursday, as well as the 200m butterfly.

“I can’t do lots of butterfly. Even the freestyle is a little bit hard so to get the qualifying time, I can’t complain.

“It’s quite sore so I have to push through to get some qualifying times and then do rehab and everything after this meet,” he added.

Visiting British swimmer Max Litchfield was second in the 200m freestyle in 1:49.49. Later in the evening Litchfield sped to victory in the 400m individual medley – the event in which he finished joint fourth at the Tokyo Olympics – in 4:15.39, ahead of South Africa’s 10km open water champion Ruan Breytenbach, who was second in 4:27.14.

Meanwhile, Olympic semi-finalist Emma Chelius just missed out on the qualification mark for the 50m freestyle by four hundredths of a second, claiming the title in 25.08 ahead of Erin Gallagher (25.39).

“I felt really good. It’s definitely the fastest I’ve been since Tokyo so that’s always good to come back off quite an exceptional year last year and manage to get so close to that qualifying time,” said Chelius, who set a new South African record of 24.64 in the Olympic semi-final last year.

“I’m going to lead off the 4x50m relay tomorrow so hopefully I’ll have one more shot at that qualifying time. But with the 50 everything just has to come together perfectly – every minute detail. That’s what really counts. So, to be close to the qualifying time is obviously frustrating but I’m hoping it comes together tomorrow.”

In the men’s 100m breaststroke it was Brenden Crawford who got the better of US-based Michael Houlie, winning in a time of 1:01.00 to Houlie’s 1:01.56.

Rebecca Meder took top honours in the 100m backstroke in 1:02.55 to add to the 400m individual medley title she bagged on Wednesday.

Swimming at the Newton Park Swimming Pool continues on Friday and comes to an end on Monday, 11 April.