Cameron van der Burgh won South Africa’s first medal at the 15th Fina swim world championships in Barcelona as he took silver in the 100m breaststroke race on Monday.
The 25-year-old Olympic champion and world record holder was beaten in the Palau Sant Jordi pool by Australian Christian Sprenger, who won in a time of 58.79 seconds – 0.18 seconds faster than van der Burgh – with the bronze going to Brazilian Felipe Lima.
Van der Burgh said he was happy with his medal, even though he had not enjoyed the best preparations after taking time out following the Olympics.
“It’s been a year of hiccups and injuries, but I swam my heart out tonight. I’m pretty sure Springer is happy with his race and congratulations to him.”
Van der Burgh, who previously won gold in the 50m breaststroke at the 2009 world championships, bronze over the 50m and 100m breaststroke at the 2011 worlds, as well as the gold in London, said “I now have got a nice collection going.”
The two other swimmers involved in Monday night‘s action, Karin Prinsloo and Darren Murray, both failed to advance from their respective semifinals.
Prinsloo managed a respectable 13th place in the women’s 100m backstroke event with a time of 1.01.05 which was 0.20 seconds faster than her swim in this morning’s heats.
“I really did not expect to make a semifinal in the 100m backstroke but I did and I am happy that I made the semi.
“I honestly thought I was going to go slower than this morning but it was awesome for me. My plan was to not be too far away from the other swimmers because then my time would suffer,” she said.
American Missy Franklin, Australia’s Emily Seebohm and Elizabeth Pelton of the USA are the fastest qualifiers for tomorrow night’s final.
Backstroker Darren Murray finished his 100m backstroke semifinal in 16th position after finishing his heat in 55.02.
“I felt better in this morning’s heats and that was a new personal best time (54.64 seconds). It was a worthwhile experience nonetheless even though it turned out to be 16th.”
Murray was 2.05 seconds behind leading finalist Matthew Grevers from the USA.