Commonwealth Games: South African Teen Pieter Coetze Secures Breakthrough Gold in 100 Backstroke

Pieter Coetze

Commonwealth Games: South African Teen Pieter Coetze Secures Breakthrough Gold in 100 Backstroke

Scroll through the results from last summer’s Olympic Games and you’ll have to dive fairly deep to locate the name of South African Pieter Coetze in the 100-meter backstroke. In Tokyo, Coetze finished 24th during the preliminaries of the event, which left him well shy of advancing to the semifinals. Now, Coetze can call himself a Commonwealth Games champion.

Just 18 years old and clearly on a rapid improvement curve, Coetze delivered a time of 53.78 at the Sandwell Aquatics Centre to grab the gold medal ahead of England’s Brodie Williams (53.91). The bronze medal was collected by Australia’s Bradley Woodward in 54.06. Woodward was the silver medalist at the 2018 version of Commonwealths on the Gold Coast in Australia.

In his Olympic debut, Coetze managed a time of 54.05 and while his time from Birmingham is not significantly faster, the South African youngster demonstrated he knows how to handle a pressure situation. Coetze led the event through the prelims and semifinals and with Williams offering pressure in the final, the South African found a way to get his hand on the wall first. Given his youth, it is the kind of triumph that can be highly motivating and a launching pad into the future.

Out in 25.75, Coetze built an early advantage over Williams, who made the turn in 26.09. Williams was able to cut into his deficit on the way home, but not enough to deny the South African his breakthrough win.

100BackMFCG

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