Van der Burgh triumphs once again

2008-11-12 00:00

SOUTH African whizzkid Cameron van der Burgh produced the leading performance once again at the Fina/ARENA World Cup that took place in Stockholm on Tuesday.

On the first day of the sixth leg of the competition, the talented South African bettered his own recent 50m breaststroke world record, touching in an amazing 25,94sec.

Van der Burgh has now become the first swimmer ever under 26 seconds in this distance. It was the fifth world record of this World Cup, and the third for Van der Burgh (he also established the 100m breaststroke world-best mark in Moscow). Furthermore, this performance gave him 1 073 points, the best men’s outcome of the first day of competition in the Swedish capital.

In Moscow, Van der Burgh certainly cashed in on the prize money that was up for grabs. His outstanding performances in the Moscow competition gave him (together with the bonus points awarded for a world record) 65 points and $20 000 in additional prize money.

“I’m gonna invest my money now,” Van der Burgh said. “I think it would be the correct decision.

“I was only fourth in the overall rank before this meet, but now my results are somewhat higher.

I know one thing -— don’t stop at the top.

“I’ve never been to Moscow and I’m glad I’ve visited this beautiful city,” he said about visiting the host city.

“As my Ukrainian friend says, Moscow is a kind of a party place and I think the same. It’s rather cold here. I’ve gotten used to the weather that is very different from South Africa, and I’m definitely glad to be here.”

And he is certain to say the same for Stockholm with more outstanding performances.

The other man of the day was Peter Marshall (U.S.), who bettered the world record in the 100m backstroke. Marshall touched the wall in 49,94sec, improving the best mark set by his compatriot Ryan Lochte at the 2006 short-course Fina World Swimming Championships in Shanghai with 49,99sec.

One of the most eagerly awaited finals of the day, the 100m freestyle, featured Olympic champion Alain Bernard (France) making his comeback after Beijing. He was clearly beaten by local hero Stefan Nystrand.

The Swede clocked 46,03sec in a race that he dominated from the starting blocks — at the 50m mark, he was 0,02sec under the world record pace — and got his fourth win (the fastest) in this event throughout the World Cup series.

The race featured two South Africans in the line-up, Lyndon Ferns and City star Darian Townsend. Ferns snatched the silver in 47,02sec, with Bernard third with a time of 47,04sec, while Townsend gained further valuable experience with another fourth place in a credible time of 47,06sec.

Oussama Mellouli (Tunisia) and Townsend were locked in battle once again in the 100m individual medley, both improving on their recent performances. It was a thrilling win for the Tunisian in 52,78sec, but a little disappointing for Townsend to be overtaken by Mellouli with just metres to go again. His time, though, improved on his Moscow victory.

Kathryn Meaklim continued with her success story. In the 200m individual medley (and after her bronze in the 800m freestyle earlier), the new girl on the blocks set a new Africa and SA record in 2:09,54 — and in doing so won her 22nd medal of the series. The South African had already triumphed in this event at the first four meets of the World Cup and now has a total of 15 gold medals and the fastest 200m individual medley time of the series.

Veteran Mandy Loots also continued to perform well with a third place in the 200m individual medley in 2:11,46.

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