Cameron van der Burgh takes bronze in a good day for SA swimmers

2009-07-28 00:00

CAMERON van der Burgh produced the swim he needed for both himself and South Africa as he raced to a well-earned bronze medal, the first medal in the pool at the 13th FINA World Swimming Championships in Rome, Italy, last night.

The talented breaststroker lifted the spirits of the SA team again.

Van der Burgh was out a little slower than his semi-final time of 27,38 sec that was automatically credited to him as a new Championship record over 50 metres.

This time a 27,54 sec first 50 metres allowed him to finish that little bit harder to clock 58,95 sec for that podium finish.

He set a new Africa and SA record for the third time in a row.

“I’m ready for the 50 m now,” said an excited Van der Burgh afterwards. “I am so happy I have broken 59 sec at last, that was awesome.”

As he arrived back at the SA camp, teammate Kathryn Meaklim tried to talk him into giving her the World Champs mascot given to the medallists. He responded cautiously that “you can have the next one if I get one in the 50 metres.”

Van der Burgh begins his assault on that 50 m breaststroke this morning as the second seeded swimmer with the time of 27,06 sec that set the World record at the Kings Park pool in the SA trials in April. He will be up against the man who took it away from him, Felipe Franca Da Silva (Brazil), who clocked 26,89 sec.

The 100 m breaststroke was won by Australian Brenton Rickard in 58,58 sec to set a new World mark with silver going to Hugues Duboscq (France) in 58,64 sec.

Another SA mark fell to the gutsy Jean Basson in the semi-final of the men’s 200 m freestyle. Being up in the first semi-final is tough and he raced next to the world’s greatest in Michael Phelps.

Phelps won in 1:45,23 with Japan’s Sho Uchida next in 1:45,45. Basson took 0,03sec off his previous record to clock 1:45,82 — but as expected, five men went faster in the other semi-final dominated by Germany’s Paul Biedermann in 1:43,85 — leaving Basson 8th with another shot in the final.

Wendy Trott had to endure the intense heat in the women’s 1500 m freestyle. She set a new Africa and SA record in earning a sixth place in 16:08,96.

For the rest, the order of the day was more World records from the ladies. Sarah Sjostrom (Sweden) lowered her own mark in the 100m butterfly with a 56,06sec dash, Redecca Soni (USA) took the 100m breaststroke in 1:04,84 and Ariana Kukors (USA) lowered her own mark in the women’s 200m IM with a 2:06,15.

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