Van der Burgh opens Team SA's medal count - SASCOC

Van der Burgh opens Team SA’s medal count

By Gary Lemke

Cameron van der Burgh put Team South Africa on the medals table, like he did in London four years ago, and this time it didn’t matter that it was a silver that he won.

Van der Burgh pulled out all the stops in the final of the men’s 100m breaststroke at the Olympic stadium, producing the second fastest swim of his life – 58.69sec – which saw him chase home Adam Peaty, the British wonderkid who sped to his second world record in three swims, this time a 57.13.

‘I can’t say I’m disappointed,’ said Van der Burgh, the gold medallist from four years ago. ‘The Olympics is such a big stage and I’m getting goosebumps all over again knowing that I’m going to be walking out there for the medals ceremony again and they’re going to play Chariots of Fire again.

‘Coming into the final, I knew I didn’t have a 57-second in me; I have a few issues with my stroke and I’m not connecting properly with the kick and pull but I also knew that if Adam made some mistakes I’d be right there. He didn’t and well done to him, it was an incredible swim by him. But silver is a nice colour too and I’m super proud to add it to my collection. People don’t remember you by the world records that you’ve broken – as you can see here they are getting broken all the time – but they remember you on the medals you’ve won.’

Van der Burgh surfaced from the dive with Peaty before the Brit edged ahead and turned in 26.61, some 0.08sec quicker than when timing 57.55 in the heats. Van der Burgh was met by a wall of challengers inside the last 50, but was determined to hold on, even if he couldn’t get to Peaty.

The South African admitted that he came into the race with some pressure – ‘of course I feel it, you put pressure on yourself and also there’s a lot of expectation on me and Chad to get medals, so I’m glad I got the ball rolling. This is something to build on and things can only get better for Team South Africa.’

Earlier, Chad le Clos qualified for Monday night’s final of the men’s 200m freestyle, seventh overall, after being third quickest from the heats and prompting 2004 Athens gold medallist Ryk Neethling to tip him for the gold medal.

Le Clos had, like he did in the earlier heats, sprung off the blocks and had so much early speed he quickly got a body length on his rivals. Like he did earlier in the day, posting a personal best 1:45.89, he led through halfway (100m) and even through 150m. And,. like earlier in the day, he was hunted down by the formidable Chinese swimmer, Yang Sun.

In the semi-final though, it was not only Sun who got to the South African, but a pack of other specialist freestylers. Le Clos, is still ‘learning’ the art of fast freestyle racing at this level – and the mongrel in him never allows himself to take things easy. He wants to win every time he dives into the water.

For long periods in both the early heat and the evening semi-final, he looked fast and comfortable taking the fight to his opponents. And after finishing fifth in the semi-final, which left him seventh fastest overall, he admitted, having seen his first 50m split of 23.91, ‘That’s fast! I went out a bit too fast. I want to get out there, always go hard, against the best guys in the world.

‘I’m happy I’m in the final, and I still swam a PB this morning. We’ll see tomorrow how it goes.

‘I struggled a bit tonight, and when I turned at the 100, I didn’t know what to do, I’ve never been this far ahead, ever, my whole life.

‘I like to race. In the last 10m I was hurting a bit, and I knew that, like this morning as well, I’d gone slightly too fast. I need to pace myself slightly better.’

He still has a shout at a medal, even though the final is 30 minutes separated from the 200m butterfly semi-final, where he is defending Olympic champion. ‘I think 1:44.9 will get a bronze. There’s always lot of pressure in the semi-final, but in the final we can just go for it,’ he added.

And go for it he will. Don’t write off his chances of winning that bronze. As Van der Burgh will no doubt testify, ‘bronze is a nice colour too’.

Click here for how Team SA fared on Sunday


  1. Colleen McNally

    August 8, 2016 at 3:37 am

    #teamSArise making us proud

  2. Redowan Patel

    August 8, 2016 at 3:40 am

    Well done Cameron…You U0001f396thats good enough…SA on the medal table..

  3. Juriana Filmalter

    August 8, 2016 at 3:45 am

    Congratulations U0001f606 U0001f605 you make us proud

  4. Edward Timm

    August 8, 2016 at 3:52 am

    Congrats CameronU0001f600You make us proud.

  5. Ingrid Ernstzen van Wyk

    August 8, 2016 at 3:57 am

    Well done Cameron

  6. Nashia Warley

    August 8, 2016 at 3:59 am

    Well done Cameron .. ✨

  7. Deon Van Den Berg

    August 8, 2016 at 4:12 am

    Ver langs familie. Baie trots.

  8. Joan Puttergill

    August 8, 2016 at 4:47 am

    Congrats Cameron, you make us all proud.

  9. Michelle Enslin

    August 8, 2016 at 4:47 am

    U beauty. U0001f389U0001f389U0001f389U0001f389U0001f389U0001f389

  10. Lindsay De Kock

    August 8, 2016 at 4:48 am

    Brilliant! Super proud of you.

  11. Tracy Crocker

    August 8, 2016 at 4:54 am

    Well done Cameron we are so proud of you

  12. Lyndi Bosman

    August 8, 2016 at 5:05 am

    So proud of you! Congratulations!!

  13. Glenn Johnson

    August 8, 2016 at 5:15 am

    Top job Cameron! Super chuffed with you swim.

  14. Myra Goldenbaum

    August 8, 2016 at 5:16 am

    Great when is Clos swimming

  15. Karin-lee Van Der Watt

    August 8, 2016 at 5:17 am

    Well done Cam! A nice color you say !

  16. Mark Peters

    August 8, 2016 at 5:28 am

    Watched every moment live in Rio! Absolutely awesome U0001f1ffU0001f1e6

  17. Myra Goldenbaum

    August 8, 2016 at 5:29 am

    Well done so please I watched this morning!

  18. Henriette Coetzee

    August 8, 2016 at 5:35 am

    Well done!!! No… Excellent!!!

  19. Janet Kobrin

    August 8, 2016 at 5:37 am

    Congrats Cameron. That was a brilliant race.

  20. Louise Kurten

    August 8, 2016 at 5:46 am

    Well done. Congrats.

  21. Teresa Peyerl

    August 8, 2016 at 5:51 am

    Excellent swimming Cameron

  22. Maite Mashilo

    August 8, 2016 at 5:52 am

    Making us proud

  23. Fiona 'Thistlewhite' Bogiages

    August 8, 2016 at 5:57 am

    Well done Cameron U0001f31fU0001f31f

  24. Loretta Bainton

    August 8, 2016 at 6:01 am

    Congratulations Cameron van der Berg

  25. Debbie Benjamin

    August 8, 2016 at 6:01 am

    Congratulations Cameron U the man got u to Watch

  26. Mina Prinsloo

    August 8, 2016 at 6:22 am

    well done – super proud !!!!

  27. Michelle Stewart

    August 8, 2016 at 6:28 am

    Silver is a brilliant colour! Well done Cameron!!

  28. Grant Hamilton

    August 8, 2016 at 6:37 am

    Well done Cameron brilliant performance! #TeamSArise

  29. Michelle Kalil

    August 8, 2016 at 6:43 am

    Yes please!! Well done Cameron!

  30. Zahn Koen Hughes

    August 8, 2016 at 6:47 am

    Well done Cameron!

  31. Cheryllyn Bennett

    August 8, 2016 at 6:48 am

    Well done. He is one of my favorite swimmers

  32. Les Jones

    August 8, 2016 at 6:58 am

    Well done super Proud of you

  33. Hannetjie Morland

    August 8, 2016 at 7:04 am

    Wel gedaan!! Trots op jou!!

  34. Tracy Bothma

    August 8, 2016 at 7:19 am

    Wow wow wow. Nowhere near a TV so please keep us posted.

  35. Craig Mc Allister

    August 8, 2016 at 7:59 am

    Fantastic super well done!

  36. John Russell

    August 8, 2016 at 8:09 am

    Awesome stuff Cam

  37. Maria Rao

    August 8, 2016 at 8:24 am

    Always a star!

  38. MauriceRosianne Habib

    August 8, 2016 at 8:25 am

    Well done U0001f44dU0001f44dU0001f1ffU0001f1e6U0001f1ffU0001f1e6

  39. Jane Townsend

    August 8, 2016 at 8:27 am

    Well done Cameron!

  40. Tumi Molokoane

    August 8, 2016 at 8:33 am

    Hi Gwen i dont c Clos

  41. Jenny Naidoo

    August 8, 2016 at 8:42 am

    Well done Cameron

  42. Jerome Craig Scott

    August 8, 2016 at 8:54 am

    Thank you Lord we on the board thanks to Cameron, well done guy – we proud of you.

  43. Samantha Jonas Reines

    August 8, 2016 at 9:09 am

    Whoop whoop U0001f483U0001f483U0001f49aU0001f49aU0001f49a Well Done Cameron U0001f44fU0001f44fU0001f64c

  44. Ruan Geering

    August 8, 2016 at 9:10 am

    It’s awesome but it was not the first medal… Women diving took bronz yesterday , no one says anything about that….

  45. Samantha Jonas Reines

    August 8, 2016 at 9:11 am

    His tru to the Semi finals in his heat think 200 freestyle Chad en Brown so good luck to themU0001f49aU0001f49aU0001f49a

  46. Jo Jooste

    August 8, 2016 at 9:51 am

    Baie Geluk! !

  47. Colin Madgin

    August 8, 2016 at 9:55 am

    A truly gracious athlete of which SA can be proud

  48. Lana Lombard

    August 8, 2016 at 9:58 am

    Well done Cameron…

  49. Sonia Cardiga Martins

    August 8, 2016 at 12:04 pm

    Congratulations. Was very Happy to See him win a medal

  50. Lebohang C. Motsoatsoa

    August 8, 2016 at 12:42 pm

    Well done Cameron and thank you

  51. Alison Harris

    August 8, 2016 at 1:17 pm

    Yeah… Silver !!!! Woohoo ❤️

  52. Alison Harris

    August 8, 2016 at 1:17 pm

    Yeah… Silver !!!! Woohoo ❤️

  53. Lance Brand

    August 8, 2016 at 3:15 pm

    Yup behind Peaty of GB U0001f602U0001f602U0001f602U0001f602U0001f602U0001f602

  54. Lance Brand

    August 8, 2016 at 3:15 pm

    Yup behind Peaty of GB U0001f602U0001f602U0001f602U0001f602U0001f602U0001f602

  55. Sonya Langford-Mulder

    August 8, 2016 at 4:37 pm

    ? Australia was third

  56. Sonya Langford-Mulder

    August 8, 2016 at 4:37 pm

    ? Australia was third

  57. Ruan Geering

    August 8, 2016 at 5:39 pm

    Yes they were.. It’s my mistake… I went and had a look… My bad

  58. Ruan Geering

    August 8, 2016 at 5:39 pm

    Yes they were.. It’s my mistake… I went and had a look… My bad

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *