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Matthew Sates triumphs with two golds on first night in Barcelona

Matthew Sates in action at the SA championships in Gqeberha in April.
Matthew Sates in action at the SA championships in Gqeberha in April.

Matthew Sates landed two golds on the opening day of the Mare Nostrum gala in Barcelona on Wednesday, breaking a meet record in the 200m freestyle and finishing first in the 400m individual medley. 

Pieter Coetzé took the country’s only other medal, a bronze in the men’s 100m backstroke. 

Sates, winner of four gold medals in the opening Mare Nostrum event in Monaco, won the 200m freestyle in a 1 min 45.91 sec personal best, winning a three-way tussle against Briton Thomas Dean and 2019 world championship silver medallist Katsuhiro Matsumoto of Japan in 1:46.46.

In the 400m IM earlier, Sates stormed into the lead early in the opening butterfly leg, and even though he was pushed into third place in the backstroke, the Pietermaritzburg swimmer powered his way back over the breaststroke and freestyle legs to win comfortably in 4:11.58.

Hungary’s David Verraszto, a two-times world championship silver medallist in this event, was second in 4:13.54 and Briton Max Litchfield, fourth at the Tokyo Olympics, third in 4:16.21.

Coetzé finished third in the men’s 100m backstroke, clocking 53.72 behind Olympic medallists Thomas Ceccon of Italy in 53.18 and Japan’s Ryosuke Irie in 53.46. 

Chad le Clos was fifth in the 100m butterfly, finishing in 52.36 in a race where Naoki Mizunuma of Japan downed Hungary’s 200m fly king Kristof Milak, second in 51.51. 


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