Disclaimer: BlueSeventy Swim of the Week is not meant to be a conclusive selection of the best overall swim of the week, but rather one Featured Swim to be explored in deeper detail. The BlueSeventy Swim is an opportunity to take a closer look at the context of one of the many fast swims this week, perhaps a swim that slipped through the cracks as others grabbed the headlines, or a race we didn’t get to examine as closely in the flood of weekly meets.
For Cameron van der Burgh, 50 meters and 27 seconds might have just earned him $15,000.
Van der Burgh is the current points leader on the FINA World Cup tour, but he’s been battled closely over the second cluster by Japan’s Masato Sakai.
The two tied for the points lead in Hong Kong at 48 points apiece, heading into this week’s Beijing stop with equal claims on the 2nd cluster’s massive leader bonuses.
The top 6 finishers in the 3-meet cluster earn major cash bonuses, $50,000 for the winner and $35,000 for second place.
In Beijing, Sakai appeared to put himself in the driver’s seat for the biggest check, outdoing van der Burgh’s two-gold-one-silver meet with three golds of his own.
But when the official points were tallied, it was van der Burgh who had managed to sneak away with the lead. That’s because the South African picked up the meet’s biggest performance bonus for putting up the top-ranked swim in terms of FINA points.
That came in the 50 breast, where van der Burgh went 27.03 for a new world-leading time for the season as well as 960 FINA points and the 24 World Cup series points he needed to take the lead.
With that bonus, van der Burgh went from trailing Sakai in the second cluster 33 to 36 to suddenly leading his rival 57-36.
Van der Burgh now holds a 21-point lead over Sakai heading into the cluster’s final stop in Singapore this weekend. If he can maintain that lead, he’ll see one simple 50 breaststroke boost his cluster bonus from $35,000 to $50,000 – a 50 meter race worth $15,000.
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