KNOXVILLE, Tennessee, November 20. THE Tennessee Volunteers added a strong butterflyer to its incoming freshman class today, as South African Ryan Coetzee signed a National Letter of Intent.
“I feel the coaches at Tennessee are very passionate and have great things planned for the future,” Coetzee said in an email to Swimming World. “I really like the team they have and are currently building and feel honored to be a part of something this spectacular. The spirit of everyone seems amazing! Go Vols!”
Coetzee had a strong summer, swimming in the finals of the 50 and 100 butterfly events at the junior world championships. He placed seventh in each race with times of 24.19 and 53.75, and left Dubai with a bronze medal in the 400 medley relay. Though not an Olympic event, the teenager can celebrate his top-50 global ranking in the 50 fly, thanks to the 23.81 he swam in prelims of junior worlds that puts him 35th.
Coetzee is currently the second-fastest sprint butterflyer in South Africa, though he’s a long way off from catching reigning king Chad Le Clos. Coetzee swam a 55.02 to place second in the 100 fly at the South African nationals earlier this year.