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Cameron and Chad collect another two gold medals
- Updated: July 29, 2014
By Gary Lemke
South Africa’s two swimming superstars from the 2010 Commonwealth Games and 2012 Olympics were at it again in Glasgow on Monday night when they won gold 30 minutes apart.
For one it was the most emotional victory of his career. For the other it was just another day at the office in the best job in the world.
Cameron van der Burgh put a few difficult days behind him when he lasted just long enough to continue his dominance in the 50m breaststroke. He won in a Commonwealth Games record 26.76sec, just 0.02 ahead of a charging Adam Peaty, who had clinched the 100m title a few nights earlier.
It was his fifth medal in these championships and he remains on course for the seven he has targeted. Then Chad le Clos took to the water and smashed the Commonwealth Games record in the 100m butterfly, touching the wall in 51.29. But while he returned dancing on air, Van der Burgh had tears in his eyes.
Fortunately, he also had fire in his chest. ‘The last 48 hours have been difficult. I’ve had to reasses my values, find the love for doing this again. After the 100m I had no motivation. These two boys reminded me of when I was younger. Fearless. Now I am the old ballie,’ said the 26-year-old.
‘Physically I felt fine but emotionally I was not feeling good. In London  I probably had it too easy, I won too easily. Now I must reasses things. I’m not a quitter and I’ll be in Rio for the next OIympics. But I have never set the next goal. Now I need to start putting targets out there. These two boys [England’s Ben Proud and Scotland’s Ross Murdoch, both 20] were like I used to be. I’ve got to have that fire in the chest again.’
Le Clos, by contrast, has been swimming with a smile on his face all championships. He looks as though he’s having fun in the water and is in a different division to his opponents. ‘I respect everyone I swim against,’ he said earlier in the week. It’s just that he is beginning to play with them, like a cat does with a mouse.
For Le Clos the world records will come later. In the 100m butterfly final he was still some way off Michael Phelps’ best of 49.82 set in 2009, but the South African races to win. Often he does just enough to win, getting himself at the head of the field and then coasting home.
In his slipstream last night was Joseph Schooling of Singapore, in 51.69. That’s 0.40 seconds, but in reality there is a bigger gap between the two.
Le Clos admitted that he wanted ‘to make a statement and go under 51 seconds. On the blocks I thought “what would Phelps think”. But in the end all I try do do is win my races. This was the fastest time in the world this year.
‘Tomorrow is going to be a busy day. I’ve got two hard races, one in the 200m individual medley and one in the relay. I think we [South Africa] have got a really good shot in the relay,’ the superstar added.
Roland Schoeman, who already has two medals at these championships, will be looking to add to his overall Commonwealth Games tally of 12 when he takes to the water in the men’s 50m freestyle final. He will be joined in the race by Brad Tandy who has been undergoing treatment for a left shoulder that popped out when he dived in on Sunday.
Schoeman, as the seasoned racer that he is, finished third in his semi-final in 22.26, which was faster than the 22.54 from the morning heats.
‘I still felt a little lethargic out there,’ he said. ‘I don’t know why, it’s one of those things. Maybe it’s because I’ve been too quiet, having too much rest. Tomorrow I’ll step things up. I’ve been quicker than this [22.26] plenty times before.’
Tandy, 11 years younger than Schoeman at 23, was simply happy to be in the final. ‘It’s been my aim for a long time to go under 22 seconds so we’ll see. My season has been one of ups and downs, but mostly ups, and this is an up.’