Kaylene Corbett Posts Strong 200 Breaststroke; Coetze, van Niekerk Win Again at Durban Grand Prix

Kaylene Corbett
Kaylene Corbett -- Photo Courtesy: Gaby Benjamin/Swimming South Africa

Kaylene Corbett Posts Strong 200 Breaststroke; Coetze, van Niekerk Win Again at Durban Grand Prix

On the first day of Swimming South Africa’s Grand Prix meet in Durban, both Lara van Niekerk and Pieter Coetze recorded “A” qualifying times for this summer’s World Championships in Fukuoka, Japan, and both followed with solid performances on day two, but the top swim of the day came from Kaylene Corbett.

Corbett was the silver medalist in the 200 breaststroke at the Commonwealth Games and fifth-place finisher in the event at the Tokyo Olympics, both meets where countrywoman Tatjana Schoenmaker scored gold. Sunday morning in Durban, Corbett recorded a time of 2:25.81 Sunday morning in Durban, crushing her competition by almost 10 seconds. Corbett swam as fast as 2:22.06 at the Olympics, and her 2022 best time at the Commonwealth Games was 2:23.67.

Meanwhile, Coetze posted an “A” time in the 50 backstroke as he won in 25.09. Coetze swam as fast as 24.61 last year as he won silver medals in the event at the Commonwealth Games and World Junior Championships. The 18-year-old also won the 200 back in 1:58.34, just over two seconds off his World Junior Championships winning time of 1:56.05.

Van Niekerk blasted a time of 30.65 in Saturday evening’s 50 breast heats before winning the event Sunday in 31.04. In other events, Rebecca Meder added to her two Saturday wins by topping the field in the 400 freestyle (4:17.93, 4:16.32 in prelims) and 100 freestyle (55.67) while Erin Gallagher was second in the 100 free (55.67) and first in the 50 butterfly (26.87).

While the times by Corbett, Coetze and van Niekerk are strong early-season efforts, South African swimmers hoping to earn trips to the World Championships will not be able to officially qualify for the World Championships until the South African National Championships, scheduled for April 12-16. The most recent South African swimmers to earn Olympic gold medals, Schoenmaker and Chad le Clos, are likely to be among the entered swimmers next month in Gqeberha.