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Van der Burgh: 55.99 S/C 100 Breast

Aug 9, 2009  - Craig Lord

So, the 100m breaststroke s/c world record nows stands at 55.99. Cameron van der Burgh (RSA) is the holder and may well have attained that status in a non-booster suit, just at a slower rate. At 55.99 in his X-Glide at SA s/c nationals, he and arena have certainly drummed the message home before textile is back in fashion in 2010.

The speedster is a supporter of the move to revive swimming. He also intends to nail as many nails in the coffin of the shiny bodysuit as he can before the final rites are read. His comment to SwimNews tonight was very simple and said all that needs to be said: "Ha, ha, ha!" Quite. 

Next up, Van der Burgh will chase the money on the FINA world cup series but says the cash is not what drives him. "I swim firstly for the passion and then the money," he said through his federation. "When I swim in the FINA/Arena World Cup series I get US$ 10 000 every-time I break a world record, so I am actually making life difficult for myself by taking so much time off the world marks here in Pietermaritzburg, but it just proves that I swim for the passion and its not always about the money."

He added: "It’s not like athletics. I can’t raise the bar a centimetre at each event. I can’t control speed according to fractions of a second. I just have to race as fast as possible. I am in good form now having come to KwaZulu Natal straight after the FINA World Championships, and with the African leg of the FINA/Arena Swimming World Cup happening in Durban from October 16-17, I will have to see how my form is then. But the Kings Park Aquatics Centre in Durban is more conducive to fast times. The swimming pool there has touch-pads on both ends of the pool. Here in Pietermaritzburg, there are touch pads only at one end, and I am slipping a bit on the wall when I do the turns at the other end which probably costs me around 0.2 secs in a race."

And some more info from South Africa's federation tonight:

“Before I went to the swimming pool, I contact my Japanese coach Norimasa Hirai and told him that I wanted to break the 56 second barrier in the 100 metres breaststroke today,” said Van der Burgh, after clocking 55.99 secs, to improve on his world mark of 56.39 achieved in the semi-finals the day before.

“My coach told me that if I go under 56 seconds, that will be gold medal material at the 2012 London Olympics. Having broken the 50 metres breaststroke world record (25.43) and the 100 metres breaststroke twice at these championships, I am sure I am in the prime position of being the only swimmer ever to have recorded 3 world swimming records within 24 hours.”

“I felt great in the water today. Unlike in my 100 metres breaststroke semi-final the day before, my stroke held well over the last 25 metres to give me the edge to go this fast.”

The world record achievement puts Van der Burgh at a total of 9 world best performances within 8 months.

Roland Schoeman, who set a world best of 20.30 in the 50 metres freestyle heats a day earlier, found himself in a race against time of a different sort.

Ten minutes before competing in the 50 metres freestyle final, his state-of-the-art swim suit split on the left-hand side of the material covering the leg, and he was forced to change his swimwear, before taking to the water to win gold in 20.85.