The States of SA set 2 junior world records, Le Clos extends its career in the Gold World Cup


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South African swimmer Matt Sates

Pietermaritzburg swimmer Matt Sates spearheaded an impressive effort by South African swimmers in the opening round of the FINA World Cup four-stage series in Berlin this weekend.

The 18-year-old Olympian was very successful in the individual medley events and won gold in the 200m freestyle, setting two new junior short course world records.

Touching the wall in 1: 51.45 for gold in the 200 IM, Sats beat Japan’s previous mark Daiya Seto, set nine years ago, by more than a second.

It also meant that he broke the South African and African record of Athens Olympic champion Darian Townsend of 1: 51.55, which was achieved in the same Berlin pool in 2009 and was then a world record.

“I’m very happy with my races so far, just being here to run has been a privilege,” Sates said of his performance in Berlin.

“I didn’t expect to be that fast at all and I didn’t even know what the junior world record was. I just swim every race as it goes and just try to improve myself.

“There are a lot of races to come for the next three weeks so it’s great to start like this.”

Sates coach Wayne Riddin, who also coached Townsend before his move to the United States, admitted: “There were no world junior championships, and that’s where Matt wanted to break the junior world long course, so I decided we would go to Berlin, because that’s where Darian broke the world record in 2009.

“In my head I had the 1: 51.55 as my goal, but when we hit 1: 55.43 at the SA Short Course Championships, I thought maybe that was a big drop. When he did so well in the 400m freestyle and 100 IM the first night [in Berlin], I thought it might still be a possibility, but I was a little nervous to throw it up and say it out loud. “

Sates broke records in the 200 freestyle again, winning gold ahead of 2016 Olympic champion Kyle Chalmers of Australia with a world junior mark of 1: 40.65.

It also saw him eclipse the senior SA and African record owned by Townsend.

In addition to gold in the 100, 200 and 400 IM and 200 freestyle, the teenager also won silver in the 400 freestyle.

Meanwhile, 2012 Olympic champion Chad le Clos also left Berlin with a large collection of medals.

After winning gold by Tom Shields in the 100m butterfly, Le Clos turned the tide in the 200m event a day later. He completed a massive 25m final to overtake the American, finishing in 1: 50.32.

“I was very, very happy with it. It was more of a morale boost than anything, facing one of the greatest short course fly swimmers of all time – my good friend Tom Shields,” said Le Clos thereafter.

“I’m just looking to build on that, come back for the Commonwealth Games next year, get back on the podium and move on to 2024. I think a lot of people expected me to disappear after the Olympics, but I’ve proven I’m back and it’s really nothing, a little taste of what’s to come in the future, “added Le Clos, who carried his all-time record in the World Cup to 146 gold medals with this victory.

“Obviously a big thumbs up to Matthew for a phenomenal junior world record. I’m very happy for him.”

Le Clos then added to their gold and silver medals with a bronze medal in the 50m butterfly in 22.48.

Martin Binedell also stepped onto the podium in Berlin, who won bronze in the 200 backstroke in 1: 52.86.

The mixed 4x50m medley relay team of Le Clos, Brad Tandy, Tayla Lovemore and Emily Visagie also won bronze behind Germany and the United States.

The South Africans finished the competition fourth in the medal table behind Australia, Germany and the United States. The World Cup is now moving to Budapest for the second stop in the series from October 7 to 9.

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