A troublesome shoulder niggle that required ‘needles treatment’ won’t hinder Cameron van der Burgh as he looks to win the 50m breaststroke title at the world championships in Barcelona on Wednesday night.
Both he and fellow Olympic gold medallist from London 2012, Chad le Clos, set the fastest times in the semi-finals and head into the evening programme as favourites to take gold in the breaststroke sprint and the men’s 200m butterfly, respectively.
And Giulio Zorzi, fresh from World Student Games success, also showed that he’s an emerging star as he earned a place in the 50m breaststroke final, clocking the eighth fastest time. He is one to keep an eye on at next year’s Commonwealth Games and also the Rio Games.
Van der Burgh came close to breaking his own world record in the 50m breaststroke of 26.67, when he sped to the finish in a time of 26.81 ahead of Slovenia’s Damir Dugonjic in 26.83 and Brazil’s Junior Gomes in 27.05.
Zorzi also qualified for the 50m final iwith a time of 27.44.
In the 200m butterfly semi-final, KwaZulu-Natal’s Le Clos clocked a fast time of 1:55.33. The second and third places went to China’s Wu Peng and Poland’s Pawel Korzeniowski in 1:55.42 and 1:55.67 respectively.
Le Clos had looked like he would have to settle for a minor placing. Taking off in lane four he was always in the slipstream of Peng, and even with five metres to go, the Olympic champion looked beaten. However, in a finish reminiscent of the way he dethroned Michael Phelps in London last year, Le Clos came over the top in the final stroke and touched a fingertip ahead with perfect timing.
In Tuesday’s morning heats, Myles Brown finished 16th┬áin the 800m freestyle, clocking 7:57.69, while Karin Prinsloo ended in 19th┬áplace in the 200m freestyle in 1:59.15.
Day four of the Fina Championships on Wednesday will see Jessica Ashleigh Cooper, Leith Shankland and Michael Meyer swim their first races in the 50m backstroke, 100m freestyle and 200m individual medley respectively.