It’s nearly a year since I won an Olympic gold medal in the 100 metres breaststroke in London. It was the biggest thing I have achieved in my life. It really was a dream come true and my life really has changed since then. There are new responsibilities, more pressure and duties with media and sponsors, and of course I have to find time for training too. I am not complaining of course. I have had the honour of meeting some amazing people and I have established great relationships and seen many wonderful places.
One of the most exciting things I have done was a television commercial for Head & Shoulders. There were 200 people on shoot including a body double for a 30 second commercial. We started at 6am and finished at 10:30 sometimes. I must also add that I am proud to be associated with blue chip brands like Audi and Tag Heuer.
One of the things I also get is interest from people who are seeking a friendship but sadly it is often people who just want something. People like my agent Ryk Neethling and my family are the first to warn me. They’ll always encourage me to think when they think something is dodgy.
After the Olympic Games I took a six month break. This was partially because of a small shoulder injury but also to just get away from things. While others might be in a better condition right now I am feeling ready and refreshed and I’m really excited for next season and the Commonwealth Games. We’ll see how 2013 goes because training is never a true reflection of where you are at.
It’s always difficult to say but looking ahead I would like to remain number one in the world for the next three years. Consistency is what I want because even though I’ve won all the medals and have all the records there have been times where I’ve won a gold and then next time round could only manage bronze.
This is very doable because breast-strokers actually peak between 24 and 28 because It’s more power-based. I feel I have a realistic chance to go to Rio De Janeiro and defend my title but the day I wake up and realistically feel my body is old and feel I can’t do the same times I used to I’ll call it a day. I’ll probably reassess after the 2016 Olympics because if you commit, you commit for four years.
Training is so important and with breaststroke your physique and training is different and it’s almost a different sport. I need to be having fun too because if you’re not having fun you’re not going to perform. I remember back in 2009 I went to train with Kosuke Kitajima’s coach and I hated it. With Dirk Lange it’s different. It’s sprint-based and there’s a lot of banter within the group I train with. What I love most is that the training is flexible and we get the schedule in advance so you can move things around a little bit which is great because you need to live your life as well.
Of course life is not only about being in the pool and trying to win medals and break records for me. With Head & Shoulders we’re trying to get a whole bunch of things off the ground but unfortunately with the Swimming South Africa (SSA) financial situation it’s been difficult and we’ve had to put it on hold. It’s fine if I just show up at a pool and hand stuff out with kids but it has no longevity so I’m looking at getting instructors at the pool and see how they can get involved with outreach programmes.
CAMERON’S VITAL STATISTICS
Date of birth: 25 May 1988
2012 Olympic Games gold
2009 World Championships (Long Course) gold
2010 World Championships (Short Course) gold
2010 Commonwealth Games 50m & 100m gold
2011 All-Africa Games 50m & 100m gold
Cameron is the world record holder in the 50m breaststroke as well as 100m breaststroke (long & short course) events in the 25m as well as the regulation size pool.
Cameron is wheat and gluten-intolerant so he doesn’t eat bread for example.