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Van der Burgh blasts into 100m breaststroke final and showdown with archrival Peaty
- Updated: August 3, 2015
By Mark Etheridge
There was the classic mixture of agony and ecstasy in the Kazan Arena Pool as swimming got underway in the FINA World Championships on Sunday.
Olympic champion Cameron van der Burgh was class personified as he set the bar high in both the heats and semi-finals of the 100-metre breaststroke, confidently cruising into Monday night’s final.
Thing is though that In Britain’s Adam Peaty there’s a man who is quite happy to step up to the plate when the pressure is on
In the morning heats Pretoria powerhouse Van der Burgh won his heat with a benchmark 58.59 seconds victory. Next up though and Peaty posted a championships record of 58.52… 0.07sec quicker than the South African.
Moving onto the evening semi-finals and once again Van der Burgh made all the running with a 58.49 victory. Peaty’s response on this occasion was even more impressive as the world record holder blasted to a 58.18 clocking.
It was Peaty who pipped Van der Burgh to gold at the Tollcross pool in Glasgow in last year’s Commonwealth Games and Monday’s final at 6.30pm SA time is going to be mouthwatering stuff.
SA new boy on the block, Ayrton Sweeney was supposed to go off in the 100m breaststroke heats as well but was withdrawn at the last minute.
Explained the breaststroke specialist: ‘They had to pull me out because Cam had an A time and according to FINA rules I can’t swim if another swimmer has an A time so we really had no choice. I’ll have to wait for day five now and the 200m breaststroke.’
It’s not a calamity for Sweeney as the longer version is his speciality and the event he qualified for at nationals.
Moving on though and neither was it a calamity for Chad le Clos who dropped out of the 50m butterfly final.
His 23.45 in the heats put him into the semi-final but his seventh place in 23.49 meant he was only 14th fastest overall, 0.20sec outside of making the final and ruling out any chance of a butterfly bonanza in the 50, 100m and 200m events.
There was also disappointment for national record holder Myles Brown in the 400m freestyle.
After a strong start in his heat where he was lying second for more than halfway he dropped back markedly over the last 100m to end seventh in 3:48.86 after going into the championships with a 3:46 qualifying time.
Both him and Le Clos will be in action again on Monday morning though with the 200m heats.