Teen Pieter Coetze set to become SA's youngest swimmer at the Olympics

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South African swimmer Pieter Coetze (Gallo)
South African swimmer Pieter Coetze (Gallo)
Anton Geyser/Gallo Images

16-year-old Pieter Coetze is set to become the youngest South African swimmer to compete at the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Coetze, who turns 17 in May, qualified for the Tokyo Olympics in the 4x100m medley relay event at the SA Aquatic Championships in Gqeberha earlier this month.

The backstroke swimmer needed to swim a time of 53.85s in the 100m backstroke and 1:57.50 in the 200m backstroke to seal his ticket to Tokyo.

Coetze was in fine form at Newton Park as he picked up three golds at the Olympic qualifying event.

In the 100m backstroke, Coetze clinched gold and clocked a 54.25 - just 0.40 seconds over the required 53.85.

He narrowly missed out again as he went on to win the 200m backstroke with a 1:58.33, falling 0.83 seconds slower.

However, his final race in Gqeberha saw Coetze seal his first Olympic qualification time of 53.62 in the backstroke section of the 4x100m medley relay.

He joined Matthew Sates, Alaric Basson and Ethan du Preez to take gold in the relay medley with a time of 3:38.13.

Coetze, who is in Grade 11 at Cornwall Hill College in Centurion, will now make his debut at this year's Olympic Games, which is scheduled to get underway from 23 July-8 August.

At 17, he will be three years younger than South African swimming legends Chad le Clos and Cameron van der Burgh who were both 20 when they made their Olympic debut.

Six SA swimmers and their Olympic qualifying times after SA Aquatic Championships:

  • Chad le Clos - 200m butterfly - 1:55.88
  • Ethan du Preez - 200m butterfly - 1:56.44
  • Tatjana Schoenmaker - 200m breaststroke - 2:20.17
  • Tatjana Schoenmaker - 100m breaststroke - 1:05.74
  • Kaylene Corbett - 200m breaststroke - 2:25.18
  • Emma Chelius - 50m freestyle - 24.72 (heats)
  • Pieter Coetze - 100m backstroke - 53.62 (relay)
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