Cameron van der Burgh has decided it's time to retire from swimming. Photo: Cindy Waxa /African News Agency/ANA
Cameron van der Burgh has decided it's time to retire from swimming. Photo: Cindy Waxa /African News Agency/ANA

Cameron van der Burgh calls time on illustrious swimming career

By Ockert De Villiers Time of article published Dec 12, 2018

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Cameron van der Burgh bowed out of an illustrious career in style winning the 100m breaststroke gold medal at the World Short-Course Swimming Championships in Hangzhou, China on Wednesday. 

The South African swimming legend announced his retirement from a career that spanned more than a decade.

The 30-year-old’s accolades include the London 2012 Olympic title and more than a dozen world championship medals across both the long and the short course. 

Van der Burgh holds the world short-course 50m and 100m breaststroke records and also held both records in the 50-metre pool. 

He boasts two worlds 50m breaststroke long-course titles while his heroics on Wednesday earned him his third short-course gold medal extending his tally to five world titles.

 “I did make a commitment two years ago after the Olympics to transition from swimming and look forward to my next career and start to plan where I go,” Van der Burgh said.

“It means the world to me. It is my last race, so I am extremely happy. The world championship means a lot. It is the last one. It is sad but I am happy to end on a high.”

Van der Burgh tied the knot with Nefeli Valakelis in Greece in July and has since relocated to London where he started a new career as a hedge fund analyst.

BREAKING: Cameron van der Burgh ( @Cameronvdburgh) has announced his retirement from international swimming. He bows out as an absolute legend of SA sport!

— Ockert de Villiers (@ockertde) December 12, 2018

The South African sensation was in a class of his own on Wednesday leading the race from start to finish to win the 100m breaststroke title eight years after he won it for the first time.

He hit the wall in a new championship record of 56.01 seconds chopping 0.28s off the previous mark. 

Van der Burgh burst onto the international scene as a 19-year-old when he won the 50m breaststroke bronze medal at his maiden World Long-Course Championships in Melbourne 2007. 

He set his first world record at the South African Championships in 2009 and raced to his first major title at the World Long-Course Championships in Rome later that year. 

Van der Burgh’s crowning glory came at the London 2012 Olympic Games winning the 100m breaststroke title in a world-record time of 58.46 shaving 0.12s off the previous mark.

Four years later he became only the second male Olympic 100m breaststroke champion to earn a podium place at consecutive Games when he finished second behind world record holder Adam Peaty.

Former world-record holder Kosuke Kitajima of Japan won gold in Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008.


IOL Sport

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