- Team SA leads the way at Region 5 Games opening ceremony
- Stapleton flies flag for SA in India
- Judoka ready to get to grips for Team SA
- SA’s six Games boxers ready to take to the ring
- SA duo up for prestigious world awards
- SA youngsters aim for a repeat of 2014
- Health issues as South Africa play catch-up in India
- Team SA head off to Angola on Region 5 Games mission
- Mthembu puts SA back on podium… after 23 years!
- Reverse strategy puts Waschefort in front
Cameron to kick-start international campaign in France
- Updated: June 3, 2015
Olympic gold medallist Cameron van der Burgh will start his international campaign this weekend when he competes in the Canet-en-Roussillon leg of the Mare Nostrum Series in France. He’ll also compete in Barcelona next weekend.
My training has been going well so I think I am in good shape. But don’t expect fireworks from me right from the start. Everything I do at the moment is aimed at being at my best at the World Championships. The closer I get to the championships, the faster my times will be,’ said Van der Burgh.
In April Adam Peaty (Britain) became the first man to break 58 seconds in the 100-breaststroke, winning in a new world record time of 57.92sec,and clipping 0.54 from Van der Burgh’s record.
Van der Burgh is impressed but not really fazed about what has happened. ‘Records are obviously important. But the reality is that you just ‘borrow’ a record. What is special about breaking a record is that your name will appear in the history books because you were the best swimmer in the world at a specific time. This is quite impressive, so for me records are important. I like the challenge of constantly pushing the boundaries. The ultimate would be to set a time that no one else can improve on,’ the Tuks/HPC swimmer said.
‘A performance like Peaty’s is what keeps me motivated. I see it as a challenge he set for me to up my own game. He is now the ‘Top Dog’ who everybody will be striving to beat and that suits me.’
Since 2007 not a year has gone by without Van der Burgh winning at least one medal at a World Championships, Olympic Games or Commonwealth Games, long as well as short course.
As to what keeps him motivated Van der Burgh said: ‘It’s not true that it becomes more difficult to motivate yourself later in your career. Remember swimming is my career and I love to race. The fact that there is nothing higher to achieve does not mean that your hunger to win diminishes. The challenge for me is to see how many more races I can win before my career comes to an end.
‘I’m at a stage where I am beginning to realise that I am not going to swim forever. So I enjoy everything a little bit more, realising that it might be my last World Championships, last Olympic Games, etc. This motivates me to make the most of every opportunity that comes my way and it is always important for me to perform at my best.
‘My training partners also play a major role to keep me motivated because we tend to push each other to the limit during every session.’
Van der Burgh is planning to compete in the 50, 100 and 200m breaststroke. He has been a dominant force in the 50m and 100m breaststroke events in which he often medalled. However, in the past he was not too keen on the 200m.
‘I started off in the 50m breaststroke and then went on to compete over 100 metres without a problem, but I’m not too sure about the 200m. It feels as if I am stuck in no-man’s land when I compete over the longer distance. It’s not as if I do not have the endurance, but I just don’t have the speed to be truly competitive over 200m.
‘I have qualified to swim the 200m breaststroke at the World Championships but, to be honest, I don’t have too much expectations. For me it is a fun event.
‘What is good is that at the World Championships the 200m breaststroke is after the 50m and 100 breaststroke events. This means there will be no real pressure on me.’