TeamSA swimming icon Cameron van der Burgh has spoken about how he still has no sense of smell despite the fact that he has fully recovered from Covid-19, writes Gary Lemke.
Van der Burgh, who won 18 gold medals in breaststroke competition at the Olympics, Commonwealth Games and World Championships, was talking to rising TeamSA sensation Tatjana Schoenmaker, herself a breaststroker who was one of the favourites to win gold at the 2020 Tokyo Games before the Covid-19-enforced postponement. Van der Burgh contracted Covid-19 in March.
‘It was an awful experience,’ Van der Burgh told Schoenmaker from London in Team SA’s #FlashbackToInspire2020 campaign. ‘Luckily we caught it quite early, but it was scary, because of the stats a couple of months ago. I had a really high fever, 39.5 degrees, and [wife] Nefeli is pregnant, so it’s scary. We followed the advice at the time, which was to take paracetamol and drink a lot of water.
‘Eventually it eased off. But, I still can’t smell anything. I love my wine, but I can’t smell it. The thing is that I can smell onion in the house even though there’s no onion. I have to do what amounts to smell training, learning to smell things again, like coffee or cinnamon. The upside is that we now have the antibodies so hopefully we are immune to catching it again, for now.’
The retired 32-year-old is a hedge fund manager and proud of the fact that the fund he is involved with is the best performing in Europe. It feels like winning another Olympic gold medal to the South African.
Van der Burgh also reflected on his time in the pool and memories from Rio and the London Olympics, while he spoke about life out of the pool and also offered advice to all aspiring younger swimmers.
Click on Schoenmaker’s inspiring chat with Van der Burgh below.