Johannesburg – World record holder Cameron van der Burgh hopes to achieve global dominance in the 100 metres breaststroke discipline ahead of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
“I just want to try and remain dominant for the next four years and try to be consistent,” Van der Burgh said at the Sport Industry Summit in Johannesburg this week.
Van der Burgh said he had enjoyed some time off since he returned from the London Olympic Games, where he won the gold medal and set a world record in the 100m event.
The 24-year-old competed in two Fina Short Course World Cup series events this month but has since put his feet up for some well deserved rest.
“We worked for so long and so hard, and you need to enjoy the opportunity while it is here, and I am enjoying being normal for a change,” he said.
“It is off-season now so I can play golf, and I can have a drink if I want without feeling guilty.”
While the Pretoria swimmer's next appearance will be at the Fina World Short Course Championships in Istanbul, Turkey, in December, he felt there were more important things on which to focus.
Van der Burgh said the long course championships took precedence as he had a bounty on his head in the 50m pool.
“I am really just focussing on the worlds next year, and with the short course, I'm not putting a lot of emphasis on it,” Van der Burgh said.
“The long course is the prestigious event and the preparation I did last year for the Olympics was parallel.
“I just want to repeat that, and because of those preparations, I was so confident and my times showed that.”
While fellow Olympic gold medallist Chad le Clos has set his sights on winning multiple medals in different events, Van der Burgh took pride in being a world record holder as a specialist swimmer.
“I am not the guy that is content with making the semifinal,” he said.
“I'll rather put all my attention in saying 'I am the world record holder'.
“I am the only world record holder for South Africa and to break those (50m and 100m) world records, which were seen to be unbeatable, that just shows me that my performance was great.”
Because of the technical nature of breaststroke, Van der Burgh said he would not dabble in any other disciplines, though he was imparting his knowledge on Le Clos for the medley events.
“We can see Chad struggles with his breaststroke because he had his groin injury and we are trying to get it right,” he said.
“He is doing various training camps with me to try and improve his breaststroke and hopefully it comes along.”
The two swimmers' success at the Games, according to Van der Burgh, had given cash-strapped Swimming South Africa ammunition to negotiate for sponsorships.
“Because we've performed well, the guys have a claim and they are going forward and working hard,” he said.
“Building swimming for the long term needs to come from the grassroot levels and we don't have that infrastructure because we don't have the funding.”
He called on corporates to get involved with the sport as it could not solely rely on government funding, with tax payers already feeling the crunch.
“I think it is the duty of corporate South Africa to get involved with sponsorship to help with building the base and the numbers.” – Sapa