Olympic Games medal hopeful Cameron van der Burgh says he will swim in fewer races this year to keep his form secret from his competitors ahead of the global showpiece in July.
“I don't really want to give my form away to my competitors,” Van der Burgh said.
“I feel so confident that I want it to be a surprise and I am really looking forward to it.”
Van der Burgh's status has skyrocketed in recent years, with the swimmer clinching the bronze medal in the 100 metres breaststroke at last year's Fina World Championships in Shanghai, China.
The 23-year-old was knocked out in the semi-finals at the 2008
Beijing Olympic Games and afterwards said he would set his sights on gold at the London Games.
Van der Burgh appears physically stronger than last year and the Pretoria based-swimmer said he had greater focus and commitment in training.
“I am very excited, I have never been in this shape in my life,” he said.
“Before, when we are at this kind of phase in the training, we started to taper and started to race.
“Previously I was not as mature with my training and I think I was always doing competitions like the World Cup and a competition coming up now.
“You always go for the smaller competitions, trying to get money, and I think I'm just looking at the bigger picture this year, really trying to go for the Olympics.”
Van der Burgh believed skipping the Fina World Cup last year had already paid dividends as he was getting stronger with every passing week.
South Africa's biggest medal hopeful in the swimming pool has achieved the A qualifying standard on three occasions, but needs a repeat performance at the SA national championships in April to book his place at the Games.
He was confident, however, that he would reach the mark again.
“I am lucky at this stage where the qualifying times are a little bit behind my personal best, though they are very fast,” Van der Burgh said.
“If you are trying to win a medal, the qualification time has to come naturally and I really do believe that.
“In the trials I'm not going to give myself a full taper, and the form I've been in recently in training and at recent competitions is a good indication that we will be able to do the times in April with relative ease.”
Van der Burgh said he hoped to peak no sooner than the Games and felt he would achieve that only if he stuck to his plans.
“The Olympics is a very tricky thing because there is so much emotion involved and it is the pinnacle in sport,” he said.
“If you try to change things too radically and try to taper too early, that is when you mess up.” – Sapa