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World Cup time for Cameron

2009-10-14 08:37
Cameron van der Burgh (File)
Cape Town -  World champion breaststroke swimmer Cameron van der Burgh is determined to defend his FINA/Arena World Cup swimming title when the new short course season gets underway in Durban this weekend.

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Van der Burgh will head to the King's Park Aquatic Centre as one of the pre-event favourites, not just because of his success at the 2009 world championships in Rome, but because the 2008 World Cup season first saw the Pretoria-born ace spring to major record-breaking prominence.

"I broke my first world record during last season's World Cup," he said in an interview on the In-Site website.

"It would be nice to break another record or two as the reigning champion, but I'm really looking forward to the new World Cup season - it brings a whole lot of new challenges."

Another big incentive for Van der Burgh is the opportunity to strut his stuff in South Africa, having also been in world record-breaking form at the Telkom National Short Course Championships in Pietermaritzburg in August.

"It would be great for all of us (South Africans) to get some extra support this weekend," he said.

"There are some very, very talented swimmers taking part in this opening leg of the new World Cup season - hopefully the local crowd will do the quality of swimmers on show the necessary justice.

"Although there isn't as much pressure as, say, the Olympics or world champs, there is some good money on offer, plus short-course events are always a lot quicker and should produce some great times!"

After the Durban leg of the new World Cup season, Cameron and the rest of the swimming world will head to Moscow (November 6-7), Stockholm (November 10-11), Berlin (November 14-15) and Singapore (November 21-22) for four other World Cup events.

"A lot has been said and written about the money on offer during the World Cup season," said the 21-year-old, "but for me it's all about swimming against the clock and simply trying to swim the quickest race possible. Everything else will take care of itself if I can swim the times I should, or could, be swimming."

And looking at his preparation ahead of this weekend, he added: "It's quite funny; my preparation (this year) has been pretty similar to last year's.

"I've actually been gymming a lot... Last year I had also gymmed a lot before the World Cup season as I had just come off the Olympics and when you're racing and travelling you don't really have time to hit the gym.

"I've obviously also been hitting the pool, but it's been nice to alternate by days between the pool and the gym. You need a bit more power when it comes to short course swimming, so hopefully that gym work will pay off come this weekend!"

This weekend aside, however, there are plenty of challenges - and indeed challengers - for Van der Burgh to deal with over the next few weeks.

"Some people might think I'm a marked man, especially after the world champs, but I'm relaxed about it all," he admitted.

"And, like I said, it's all about beating the clock and thereby reaching my personal goals - the rest will take care of itself."

The opening leg of the 2009 FINA/Arena Swimming World Cup will be held at the King's Park Aquatic Centre in Durban on Friday, October 16 and Saturday, October 17; with 115 off SA's best swimmers competing and 58 foreign stars taking part.

You can support Cameron by becoming his fan on Facebook, or follow his thoughts on Twitter.


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