Coetze targets SA team’s first medal at world swimming champs

Erin Gallagher finished seventh in the women’s 100m butterfly final on the second day of competition in the pool.

Rising star Pieter Coetze will be chasing his first senior world title on Tuesday evening after qualifying among the favourites for the 100m backstroke final at the World Aquatics Championships in Doha.

The 19-year-old prospect was second fastest in Monday night’s semifinals, touching the wall in 53.07 seconds. He was just 0.03 slower than American Hunter Armstrong who turned out in a separate semifinal race.

Coetze had been quickest in the first-round heats in the morning session, clocking 53.32, and he looked set to chase the SA team’s first medal of the showpiece.

Meanwhile, Erin Gallagher finished seventh in the women’s 100m butterfly final in 57.83.

On Sunday, 25-year-old Gallagher had broken the African record in the first-round heats, clocking 57.59 to clip 0.05 off her own continental mark.

Other results

In other events in the pool on Monday, Lara van Niekerk was eliminated in the 100m breaststroke semifinals, taking 13th place overall in 1:07.25, and Matthew Sates crashed out in the 200m freestyle heats, settling for 27th position in 1:47.98.

Milla Drakopoulos was 26th overall in the women’s 100m backstroke heats in 1:02.80 and Stephanie Houtman was 18th in the first round of the women’s 1 500m freestyle in 16:35.39.