Johannesburg - Olympic champion Cameron van der Burgh marched into the 100m breaststroke final in emphatic style posting his second fastest time ever on the first day of the Fina World Championships in Kazan, Russia on Sunday.
Van der Burgh touched the wall in a championship record time of 58.49 - only to see world record holder Adam Peaty of Britain wrest it back with a time of 58.18 in the second semi-final.
The South African sent a clear message he was in sizzling form with his time in the semi-final only 0.03 off his personal best and the previous world record.
The duo ended a see-saw day in the 100m breaststroke with Van der Burgh first throwing down the gauntlet during the heats when he posted the fastest time in the morning of 58.59.
Peaty followed up Van der Burgh’s swim by touching the wall in a championship record time of 58.52.
Their tussle for fast times should make for an exciting final on Monday where Van der Burgh will be looking to claim the title that had eluded him so far.
Peaty has proven to be a thorn in the South African’s side after beating Van der Burgh in the 100m breaststroke at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games.
Earlier this year the Briton became the first man to break through the 58-second barrier to slash 0.54 seconds off Van der Burgh’s 100m breaststroke record.
Meanwhile, Olympic gold medallist Chad le Clos failed to advance to the final of the men’s 50m butterfly final.
Le Clos finished his semi-final in seventh place with a time of 23.49 dashing his dream of winning the butterfly triple gold.
He will be back in the pool on Monday where he will be swimming in the 200m freestyle along with training partner Myles Brown.
Earlier on Sunday morning Brown missed out on a final berth in the 400m freestyle where he finished his heat in seventh place with a time of 3:48.86.