Cameron's making waves

By Shanaaz Prince
17 October 2014

Career, life and love are all on track – could this be Cameron's happily ever after?

Out of the water for six weeks, South African Olympic swimmer Cameron van der Burgh is as happy as ever to be back in training and in the water after an injury to his left shoulder. “I had what they call a bone edema.  Basically what happened was that the socket which connects my upper arm to my shoulder was pulled and it caused my bone to tear through my cartilage. It’s something that happened over time and I guess it’s understandable from doing arm repetitions between 5000 and 10000 times per training session. So it’s great to be back in the water after 6 weeks of no upper body training and swimming,” says Cameron.

The 26-year old swimmer has been swimming for 8 years internationally and says that he probably, by choice, has another six years to go. In December this year he will compete in 12th FINA World Swimming Championships to be held in Doha, Qatar and then again next year at the 2015 FINA World Championships in Kazan, Russia around July/August before trying out for the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
'I’m doing well this year and I’m happy to still be competing among some of the best in the world'
“By the 2016 Olympics  I’ll be 28 and then the next Olympics I’ll be 32, so maybe after then I’ll decide to hang up my goggles,” he says. “I think that as I grow older, I start to appreciate the sport a lot more. When you’re younger, you swim to win and I think as you become more mature, you realise your real love for it. I’m doing well this year and I’m happy to still be competing among some of the best in the world.” But more than just the poolside front, Cameron is doing pretty well on his personal life too. An ambassador for Audi South Africa, now a proud home owner of his very first home in Waterkloof, halfway through his studies in Business Management at Unisa, things are looking very bright for him. And ladies, for those of you who want to know, unfortunately the toned and talented swimmer is taken and has been dating his lawyer and Greek beauty of a girlfriend, Nefeli Valakelis, for a year now.
“She keeps me out of trouble,” he jokes. “She’s fun, independent, entertaining, driven and we have good support for each other. It’s reassuring to know that even with my travels, she supports me and I know she can look after herself. I was in Greece just after the Commonwealth Games this year and I loved it. I love the Greek culture, food, their sense of celebration and that the people are just so loving and warm."
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Cameron and Nefeli attended school together at Crawford College where he says they were friends but never thought that it would eventually turn into more. "I remember I used to put forks in her hair at school," he says with a laugh.

The two reconnected through friends and have been together since for just over a year now. 

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