Van der Burgh not 'sunk'

South African swimmer Cameron van der Burgh says Rio will probably mark his final quest for Olympic glory.
South African swimmer Cameron van der Burgh says Rio will probably mark his final quest for Olympic glory. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

South African welcomes Peaty's emergence, Hosszu ready for top-class duel in 200m back

A former world champion and reigning 100m breaststroke Olympic champion, South African swimmer Cameron van der Burgh knows what life is like at the top.

However, lately, he has had to contend with the emergence of Britain's Adam Peaty.

The latter broke both his 50m and 100m breaststroke world records and is also the reigning world champion in both events.

In town for the Singapore leg of the Fina Swimming World Cup this weekend, van der Burgh, 27, said playing bridesmaid - at least for now - suits him just fine.

  • 2015 FINA OVERALL SCORING

  • MEN

    1 Cameron van der Burgh: 201 points
    2 David Verraszto: 87
    3 Ashley Delaney: 84


    WOMEN

    1 Katinka Hosszu: 357
    2 Emily Seebohm: 225
    3 Zsuzsanna Jakabos: 111


    Scoring

    • By event – 1st: 12. 2nd: 9. 3rd: 6
    • Breaking a world record – 20
    • Equalling a world record – 10
    • Meet best performance* – 1st: 24, 2nd: 18, 3rd: 12 (*Based on Fina points table)

He told The Straits Times at yesterday's pre-race press conference at the Kallang Wave Mall: "You can't always win. My main goal is the Olympics. World Championship titles - they don't really mean much to me. They are nothing compared to the Olympics.

"So Adam won the world title, (it means there will be) more pressure on Adam and all eyes will be on him next year then."

Currently leading the men's rankings in the eight-leg World Cup series, van der Burgh hopes to race well here as he readies for his final shot at Rio gold next year.

"Obviously, the goal is to prepare for the Olympics. It's probably the last time that I will try to go for the gold medal. I'm getting older, you know," he said.

Also entering the Singapore leg with Olympic glory in mind is Hungary's Katinka Hosszu, 26.

A familiar face on the World Cup circuit, the double world champion (200m, 400m individual medley) broke the 200m IM world record at the World Championships in Kazan. It was an impressive feat as the previous mark was set in the era of the now-banned rubber suits.

Hosszu, who leads the women's rankings, is set for a backstroke showdown with American four-time Olympic gold medallist Missy Franklin and Australian world champion Emily Seebohm.

Franklin holds the world 200m backstroke record but Seebohm won the event in Kazan, ahead of the US swimmer and Hosszu.

Said Hosszu: "I'm looking forward to racing here, I really like this new pool. For the (200m) backstroke, the top three in Kazan are here so it's a really good opportunity to have races with these girls."

This is the first time the World Cup races are being held in the long-course (50m) format.

It is part of Fina's efforts to increase participation from member federations. It also allows the meet to act as an Olympic qualifier.

Singapore is the fifth stop of the World Cup series.

Leading the Republic's 18-strong squad is Quah Zheng Wen, whose qualifying times in the 100m butterfly and 50m and 100m back are in the top three.


• Additional reporting by Alvin Chia


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 03, 2015, with the headline 'VAN DER BURGH NOT 'SUNK''. Print Edition | Subscribe