Multiple World Championships medallist Cameron van der Burgh says he is more confident and in control than he was ahead of his Olympic debut four years ago.
Van der Burgh, who reached the semi-finals of the men's 100 metres breastroke at the Beijing Games in 2008, has made waves in the pool, setting world-class times in the build-up to next month's London showpiece.
“I'm confident and in control and I have done a lot of hard work this year, more than any year before,” Van der Burgh said this week.
“I am seeing the progress in training and racing times.”
The swimming ace is in camp in Pescara, Italy, with the rest of the SA team, where they are adding the final touches to their Olympic preparations.
Van der Burgh is currently ranked fifth in the world in the men's 100m breaststroke, with a time of 59.73 seconds which he set at the Barcelona Mare Nostrum meeting at the beginning of June.
He felt his performances during the European season had been encouraging as he geared all is energy towards Olympic glory.
“My times this season have been much faster than last year and I am in great shape physically,” he said.
“Now it’s just up to the mental preparation.
“Preparations have been great so far. We are finishing some hard work in Pescara this week, with next week being recovery, and we end it off with some racing in Paris.”
After the Paris meeting he said he would start tapering and bank on the hard work in which he had invested in the build-up to his campaign.
“There will always be upsets and no preparation ever goes 100 percent,” he said.
“So we are taking it day by day and dealing with any things we find wrong.”
He said the SA swimmers were using the camp to fine-tune their techniques and work on conditioning.
“The last weeks into London are more about being mentally prepared,” Van der Burgh said.
He added that he was maintaining a positive frame of mind by focussing on himself and backing his own preparations.
“I cannot control what goes on in another lane and this is how I focus on the Games,” he said.
“There is no point in being nervous of other swimmers.
“It's just about focussing on yourself and what you need to do in order to perform at your best.”
The mood was positive in the SA camp, according to Van der Burgh, as they had developed into a tight-knit group over the years.
“We have a young squad that all grew up swimming together and we have bonded well.” – Sapa