Dubai, world s/c championships, day 1 finals:
Men's 100m Breaststroke
Cameron Van Der Burgh (RSA) drove a stake through the heart of the championship record with a 56.80 victory in a final that saw him race head and shoulders ahead of those who might deny him. Even in the closing strokes as Fabio Scozzoli (ITA) drove for home, the South African appeared to have the result sewn up.
The Italian also swam inside the meet record of 57.18 (set by Mike Alexandrov, USA, in semis), his 57.13 0.26sec ahead of Felipe Silva (BRA), still fastest in 2010 but forced to settle for bronze today. That locked out Alexandrov, on 57.42, world l/c champion and record holder Brenton Rickard (AUS) on 57.79
There was an uneasy moment as Van der Burgh addressed the crowd in a poolside interview, the scoreboard refusing to roll. A couple of minutes past. The DSQ flashed up: Naoya Tomita (JPN). The medals were safe.
"This is a great wrap up to the season," said the South African. "It's been long but a great season and fantastic to at least defend my title as world record holder. Records are meant to be broken but medals last forever and I'll be the world champion for the next two years. I got the silver in Manchester two years ago so it's great to improve on that. The 100 was the really important one for me and everything cam together tonight. We'll see what happen in the 50 now but this was the big one."
The result and how the result unfolded at the helm:
History in the making:
World s/c Podiums
Most world titles in this event: 2
Records (TB = best ever in a textile suit)
Most world records in this event (since specific 25m records began in 1991): 4
Cameron Van Der Burgh (RSA) 2008-09
All-time textile rankings top 5:
From the archive:
The 2000 champion Roman Sloudnov, of Omsk, was a year away from longer lasting fame of a different king. On June 29, 2001, the 21-year-old clocked 59.97 to win the Russian championships and trials for the world championships to be held in Fukuoka that year and thus became the first man to break 1min over 100m breastroke (long-course). The magic minute had been broken on freestyle in 1922, butterfly in 1960 and backstroke in 1964. Sloudnov's effort earned him the honour of European Swimmer of the Year and an invitation to a Sprint Cup event in New York on October 20. He travelled from Siberia to Moscow to line up for his visa, discovered that the US Embassy was closed due to a terrorist bomb threat, and went home empty handed.