Swimmer Van der Burgh bags SA’s first medal in Shanghai

2011-07-25 16:19

South Africa has opened its medal tally at the swimming world championships in Shanghai when Cameron van der Burgh took bronze in the men’s 100m breaststroke.

Van der Burgh, who swam 59.49 seconds to finish third behind Norwegian winner Alexander Dale Oen and Italian Fabio Scozzoli said that he was pleased with the result as it had shown an improvement from the heats to the semifinals.

“I like to build up from heats to finals and not always be the favourite.”

Van der Burgh, who recorded his season’s best time in the final, paid his respects to Dale Oen, who was visibly emotional during the medal ceremony and said afterwards that he had been thinking of the terror attack in his home country during which at least 76 people lost their lives on Friday.

“Emotionally it must have taken a lot out of him and he won here, so maybe he can take the momentum to the country and make everyone smile there,” van der Burgh said.

Van der Burgh, who is swimming the 50m breaststroke tomorrow, said he was going to see what happens, but for now it’s only: “Eat, sleep and get up tomorrow morning.”

He said he thought he had a good chance in the 50m. “It is a little more suited to my style of swimming.”

He also praised the new qualification system that South Africa swimming officials have adopted, saying that it doesn’t put them at a disadvantage anymore.

“So many of the other countries were at an advantage, so now I can start training from December and January to mid-July and so it’s a lot easier for us now.”

Norwegian Oen said at a press conference that he tried not to take events in Norway into the race, but rather use them as a source of energy. “I was not trying to think about what happened at home, though I used it as fuel to make me swim the race.”

Karin Prinsloo, who swam in the semifinal of the women’s 100m backstroke, finished last and said that she was disappointed with the result. “But I still have a few races left to do better,” she said.

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