Primarily known as a sprint breaststroker, Cameron van der Burgh of South Africa has elected to swim the 200 breast in Rio.
At the South African Trials, which were contested earlier this month, van der Burgh easily won the 100 breast (59.66) and 200 breast (2:10.13). His 200 breast time was a new personal record.
“I will be aiming at swimming the 200m breaststroke in Rio, hoping to go faster and make the final. Perhaps the African record is also a possibility.”
It took a 2:09.31 to make the final at the last Olympics in 2012, which is less than a second faster than what van der Burgh went at Trials this month.
Meanwhile, the African record of 2:09.61 is even more within reach. The time was done in 2009 at the Rome World Championships by Neil Versfeld, also a South African.
He’ll have to step it up a notch if he wishes to medal in this event in Rio, though. A 2:10.13 is a solid time, but solid times don’t win medals– it took a 2:08.29 to earn the bronze in this event in Rio, while a 2:08.10 was 3rd at the 2015 Kazan World Championships. His goals of making the Olympic final and breaking the African record, meanwhile, seem very doable.
His 2:10.13 ranks him 18th in the world so far this year.