CAMERON VAN DER BURGH
Cameron Van der Burgh trains with Dirk Lange and is based in Pretoria. He has represented South Africa at the 2008 Summer Olympics, at the 2012 Summer Olympics where he won the gold medal in the 100-meter breaststroke in a new world record, and the 2016 Olympics. He has won numerous World Championship medals since his debut in 2007 when he took a bronze medal. Three times he has won the FINA overall World Cup.
Van der Burgh set his first world long-course record (27.06s) in the 50 m breaststroke in the semifinals at South African nationals in April 2009, cutting 0.12 of a second from Oleg Lisogor’s old world record set in 2002. He won the world title in the same year at the Rome championship, also in the 50 m breaststroke.
He won the 50m breaststroke at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in a time of 27.18 seconds in a new games record and the 100m world title at the 2010 short course world championships. He won the 100m breaststroke gold medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics in a new world record time of 58.46 seconds, and paid tribute to late world champion Alexander Dale Oen afterwards. Van der Burgh later admitted to breaking the rules by utilising illegal dolphin kicks during the race which was confirmed by video replays showing Van der Burgh taking three dolphin kicks. Subsequently, FINA have suggested they may consider underwater video evidence to judge results, although van der Burgh’s results and medal are not under threat.
At the 2014 Commonwealth Games, he won the gold in the men’s 50 m breaststroke in a new games record. He won silver in the 100 m breaststroke behind Adam Peaty, and was part of the South African team that won bronze in the men’s 4 x 100 m relay. The 2014 Commonwealth Games marked the beginning of his major rivalry with World and Olympic champion Adam Peaty. Although Peaty has maintained the upper hand at Olympic and World level, especially in the 100 metres breaststroke, Van Der Burgh has remained his main international rival, and remains the only swimmer to have beaten him since his breakthrough, on both occasions denying Peaty the only major silverware missing from his collection, the Commonwealth Games 50 metre breaststroke title (a race not on the Olympic calendar).
At the 2016 Olympic Games Cameron secured the silver medal in the 100m Breaststroke earning his second Olympic Medal. Later that year he went on the win another World Championship title at the World Short Cours championships in the 50m Breaststroke.
In December 2018, van der Burgh announced his retirement from competitive swimming following the conclusion of the 2018 FINA Short Course World Swimming Championships, where he won two individual gold medals.