Cameron adds to SA gold rush
Cameron van der Burgh (AFP)
Barcelona - South Africa's Cameron van der Burgh has won the men's 50m breaststroke gold on Wednesday at swimming's world championships to avenge his defeat to Australia's Christian Springer in the 100m final.
Van der Burgh - the event's 2009 world champion - clocked 26.77secs in Barcelona with Sprenger, who won Monday's 100m breaststroke final, just one hundredth of a second behind to set a new Oceania record.
Van der Burgh was joined on the podium by compatriot, Giulio Zorzi, who took bronze at 0.27 adrift.
It marked South Africa's best night so far at these world championships after Chad le Clos' earlier victory in the men's 200m butterfly final.
Four years after winning the breaststroke sprint title in Rome, Van der Burgh, the Olympic 100m champion, battled a shoulder injury to claim his second medal in Barcelona and generously shared the podium with his training partner Zorzi.
"I don't think it is revenge exactly, but it's been a special night for South African swimming," said Van der Burgh after bringing Zorzi up onto the dias' top-tier to listen to the anthem with an arm around the other's shoulders.
"It is important to share this with Giulio, he is my best friend and training partner and to share the podium with him is one of the best experiences we'll have in our friendship.
"What better training group can you have than a gold and bronze medallist pushing each other on?
"We really need to sit down and plan the season for next year.
"I took six months off after the Olympics.
"This year instead of taking six months off, I'll take six days off and get right back into it."
Van der Burgh said his rivalry with Sprenger has helped him and the South African said he was pleased for his rival.
"It's amazing to have someone to push you on and the level of breaststroke has improved in the last couple of years, I am really happy for him," said Van der Burgh.
"I have seen his career through out the years and it is phenomenal to see the racer he has turned into over the past year."
Having claimed his second medal at Barcelona, Sprenger said he was looking forward to Sunday's medley relay.
"It was a great time and I'm really looking forward to the relay now," said the 27-year-old.
"It is a personal best, so I can't complain too much and to get another medal, especially in the 50m with my starts, is great."
Zorzi, 24, said his career had taken off since joining Van der Burgh's training group.
"I was very lazy in my teenage years, but when I turned 21, Cameron asked me to come train with me and I've come on leaps and bounds since then," he beamed.
The result has lifted South Africa's medal tally at the world championships to four (two golds, one silver, one bronze) after Van der Burgh's 100m breaststroke silver.Results from the World championship Men's 50m Breaststroke Final:1. Cameron van der Burgh (South Africa) 26.77
2. Christian Sprenger (Australia) 26.78 3. Giulio Zorzi (South Africa) 27.04
4. Damir Dugonjic (Slovenia) 27.05 5. Joao Gomes Jr (Brazil) 27.20 6. Glenn Snyders (New Zealand) 27.21 7. Johannes Skagius (Sweden) 27.48 8. Mattia Pesce (Italy) 27.53