Cameron van der Burgh is a South African breaststroke sprint specialist and multi-time Olympian. He has won numerous World Championship titles, is a world record holder in the 50-meter breaststroke, and also won a silver medal at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
My first real success in swimming came in 2007 when I qualified for my first World Championships and picked up a bronze medal. By 2009 I was well on my way to a World Record at the South African Nationals. I broke the World Record in the semi-final of the 50-meter breaststroke, shaving some time off of a seven-year old record. In the same year I won the world title in the event in Rome, winning my first gold medal from a World Championships.
I then qualified for the Beijing Olympics just moments after being recognized on the international scene for the first time. In Beijing I advanced to the semi-finals of the 100-meter breast, but failed to qualify for the championship final after finishing 5th in my heat. I also competed on the 4×100-meter medley relay, where we finished 7th overall.
At the 2010 Commonwealth Games, I took gold in the 50-meter breast in a new Commonwealth Games Record. Later in the year I swam at the 2010 Short Course World Championships, this time taking another world title in the 100-meter breast. At the 2011 South African National Championships, I took gold in the 50-meter breast setting the world’s leading time.
After racking up a few medals in international and national competitions, I was prepared going into London. With the super suit era behind me, I raced to gold in the 100-meter breast after taking out the first 50 meters in a blazing split, and broke the World Record in the process.
In 2013 I competed in the World Championships as the current World Record holder, but was just a half second off of my best time set in London. I touched the wall in 2nd place after to Christian Sprenger. A few nights later I rebounded to out-touch Sprenger for gold in the 50.
As just one of five swimmers that South Africa sent to the 2015 World Championships, I was lined up to swim my two signature events. In the preliminary heats of the 50-meter breast I did quite well when I swam under the World Record time by just a few hundredths of a second. Although I broke the Record in the preliminaries, I couldn’t crack the time in the semi’s or finals, losing out to GBR’s up-and-comer Adam Peaty. In the 100-meter event I was up once again against Peaty. We approached the race with pretty different styles — I took the race out in a nearly World Record 50-meter pace and Peaty took out the race nearly half of a second behind. I couldn’t hold on the last 50 meters as Peaty had a strong finish, pushing me to 2nd by just .07 seconds.
At the 2016 Rio Olympics, in the 100 meter breaststroke, I was again pitted against heavy favorite, Adam Peaty. At the halfway point, I turned in second behind Peaty. Over the final stretch, it was a battle for second with Peaty a body length ahead for the gold. I held on to take the silver in 58.69.
Olympic Games Silver
Olympic World Record Holder
Olympic Games Gold
Olympic Games Gold
Commonwealth Games 50m Breast Stroke
50m Breaststroke World Record Holder
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