Johannesburg - Olympic gold medallist Cameron van der Burgh added a second 100m breaststroke silver medal to his long list of accolades at the Fina World Championships in Kazan, Russia on Monday.
Van der Burgh flew out of the blocks and held onto the lead for much of the race with young pretender Adam Peaty of Britain staying on his shoulder.
The wall proved a brick breadth too far as the Briton out-touched Van der Burgh by 0.07 seconds to claim the title in a time of 58.52 with the South African hitting the wall in 58.59.
“I am very happy with the swim, I think I can be proud of that, I laid it all on the line tonight and swam with my heart,” Van der Burgh said after the race.
“I went out maybe a little too fast but I am happy to be swimming fast and good times again and enjoying the sport.”
The build-up to the race suggested it would be the mouth-watering tussle it turned out to be.
The two swimmers were in blistering form in the heats and the semi-finals taking turns setting new championship records.
“It was bitter-sweet, you always want to be on top of the podium and looking towards Rio next year I am really motivated and use this as ammunition to train hard through the year.”
Judging by Van der Burgh’s form over the first 90m he should feel quite bullish about his chances of successfully defending his 50m breaststroke title when he gets into the pool in Tuesday morning’s heats.
Meanwhile, Olympic gold medallist Chad le Clos went out fast in his men’s 200m freestyle with the rest of the field catching up in the final leg.
Le Clos touched in third place in a time of 1:46.10 which was the fourth fastest of the semis to qualify for Tuesday’s final.
His training partner Myles Brown failed to advance past his semi-final where he touched in sixth place in a time of 1:46.85.
Le Clos and Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Sebastien Rousseau will be swimming in Tuesday’s 200m butterfly heats where they will look to qualify for the evening’s semi-finals.
Brown will also have another stab at reaching a final at the championships when he takes on the 800m freestyle.