South Africa’s 100m breaststroke Olympic Champion and World Record holder Cameron van der Burgh has decided to expand his repertoire from just the sprint breaststroke to both Olympic distances.
He discussed his quest in an interview on Thursday with South Africa’s Eye Witness News, saying that this year, he would begin going after the 200 breaststroke.
“Something that I’m also looking at in 2014 is the 200m,” he said to Eye Witness news. “I’m not making too many promises, but I’d like to give the 200m a go. Hopefully by the time 2016 comes, maybe I’ll be able to have myself a double chance of getting medals then.”
Van der Burgh doesn’t have much of a history in the 200 breaststroke, and with no South African results database it’s hard to definitively declare what his best time is. In the last few years, though, the results we were able to find include a 2:14.40 at the 2008 South African Championships; a 2:19 at the 2009 edition of the Mare Nostrum meet; a 2:17 at the 2011 edition of the Sette Colli Trophy; and his most recent swim which was a 2:14.15 at the 2012 edition of the Mare Nostrum. That 2:14.15 appears to be his best time in the race in long course.
The South African Record is a 2:09.6, set in 2009 by Neil Versfeld, and it took a 2:08.2 to medal at the 2012 Olympics, so van der Burgh would have some work to do to get to the level of which he speaks.
In recent years, there has been a significant overlap in the breaststroke races at the Olympics. Though in 2012, none of the three medalists between the 100 and 200 overlapped, at the 2000 (Domenico Fioravanti), 2004 (Kosuke Kitajima), and 2008 (Kosuke Kitajima) Olympics, the gold medals went to the same man.
Van der Burgh will be eligible to swim at both the Pan Pac Championships in Australia and the Commonwealth Games in Scotland in 2014.