WR, gold for Cameron | SASCOC - SASCOC

WR, gold for Cameron

Cameron van der Burgh is simply too hot to handle after claiming gold and a new world record time in the 50 metres breaststroke final at the 13th FINA World Championships in Rome.

After clocking 26.67 secs to hold off Brazilian Franca Silva (26.76) and Mark Gangloff of the USA (26.86), Van der Burgh described his performance as the greatest moment of his life.

“From the moment I dived from the starting blocks into the swimming pool, I knew I had the gold medal,” said the Tshwane blitz, who dipped inside his world mark of 26.74 set in the semi-finals the previous evening.

“All the phone calls, sms messages and e-mails that I received from back

home really inspired me to seize the opportunity. Its going to take some┬átime before this broad smile is wiped off my face. It was such an emotional win. To see the SA flag being hoisted during the medal ceremony and to hear my country’s national anthem being played. It was really special.”

Van der Burgh was quick to counter questions aimed at the SA swim team during the post-match media conference.

“The SA swim team’s performances have improved considerably when one compares the achievements here to what happened at the Beijing Olympics last year,” said van der Burgh.

“We already have a gold medal and two bronze medals at these world┬áchampionships. We are known as a sprint nation in swimming and still have some top athletes to take part. The fact that so many SA swimmers are making finals is encouraging. The next step up is for them to medal at future international events. I am looking forward to competing for SA in the relay later in the championships, but right now its time to relax a bit.”

In congratulating Van der Burgh on his gold medal performance which followed his bronze medal feat in the 100 metres breaststroke 24 hours earlier, Swimming SA President Jace Naidoo said: “Van der Burgh is indeed a role model to all sports enthusiasts in SA across all communities and undoubtedly an inspiration to the youth. I am sure that his talent, backed by discipline and calmness will generate positive energy in the SA swim camp as other national team swimmers prepare for their forthcoming races here in Rome.”

Earlier in the evening’s swimming, Sebastien Rousseau (1:55.43) finished seventh in the final of the 200 metres butterfly, which was won by Michael Phelps in a world record time of 1:51.51.

Lyndon Ferns booked himself a place in the 100 metres freestyle final, with the seventh fastest time of 47.96 in the semi-finals.

Darian Townsend ended 12th fastest in the 200 metres individual medley semi-finals in 1:58.96.

Today, George du Rand and Darren Murray will take to the water in the 200 metres backstroke heats, while Jessica Pengelly (200 metres breaststroke), as well as William Diering and Neil Versfeld (200 metres breaststroke) will look to keep the SA flag flying high.