It was a case of oh so close for Cameron Van Der Burgh in the 50 metres breaststroke-final and for Chad Le Clos in the 200m butterfly-final of the FINA World Championships in Kazan but in the end they both had to settle for silver on Wednesday. The upside of their gutsy performance is that South Africa now boasts four medals at the World Championships. Van Der Burgh has won two silver medals (50m and 100m breaststroke), Le Clos has one silver to his name while Chad Ho won the 5 kilometres open water swim.
The 50m breaststroke final was a near repeat of what happened in the 100m-final with the 27-year old taking the early lead but then being passed by Britain’s Adam Peaty in the final few metres. Peaty won in 26.52 seconds with the Pretoria man second in 26.66s and Kevin Cordes (USA) third in 26.86s. Both Peaty and the South African swam the second fastest times of their respective careers in the 50m breaststroke.
Emile De Bruin (swimming coach at Tuks) described his charge’s performance as solid: ‘Obviously it would have been nice if Cameron had won gold but if I had to be totally honest I got to say that Peaty deserved to win. At the moment he is a class act. What excites me is that Cameron got so close to beating Peaty in both the 50m and 100m breaststroke-finals. Remember he was hampered by a shoulder injury for most of last year and only started to do some serious training from this year again. As the 50m breaststroke is not an Olympic event the big challenge for Cameron in the built-up to the Games in Rio will be to work towards
improving his time over the second half of the 100 metre breaststroke. If Cameron can swim the second 50 metres in roundabout a time of 30.98s I think he could be in with a chance to beat Peaty.’
De Bruin was yesterday afternoon not sure whether the Tuks/HPC-swimmer would compete in the 200m breaststroke on Thursday: ‘“Personally I think it would be good for Cameron to swim the 200m breaststroke in a few galas as in the long run it could stand him in good stead to improve his endurance for the 100m breaststroke.’ Meanwhile, Le Clos also had a good start leading for the first 100 metres of the 200m butterfly-final but unfortunately for him Laszlo Cseh (Hungary) got stronger and stronger overtaking the Durbanite after 150 metres. Kudos to Le Clos who never gave up.
The South African showed a lot of guts in the way he fought his way back to a second place finish over the last 50 metres. Cseh won in 1:53.48 with Le Clos second in 1:53.68 and Jan Switkowski (Poland) third in 1:54.10.
Photo credit: Reg Caldecott