By Mark Etheridge
Gerhard Zandberg sealed South Africa’s third and final medal of the 14th FINA World Championships when he swam to bronze in the 50-metre backstroke final on Sunday.
Twenty-eight-year-old Zandberg, third fastest in the semi-finals with a time of 24.91, touched in 24.66 in the final.
The joint quickest swimmer off the blocks, Zandberg held the ascendancy in the early stages but was overhauled by world record-holder Liam Tancock of Britain and Camille Lacourt of France for gold and silver.
Tancock, whose world record is 24.04, swum in Rome two years ago, was timed at 24.50 and Lacourt was 0.07sec slower in 24.57.
Pretoria-born Zandberg now has his fourth World Championships medal in this event after winning bronze in Barcelona in 2003, gold in Melbourne in 2007 and bronze in Rome two years ago.
Team South Africa will return from the World Championships with three medals in total, all of them bronze. Zandberg’s bronze comes on top of┬á Cameron van der Burgh’s two breaststroke bronzes in the 50 and 100m breaststroke events.
That’s one medal less than their haul in Rome two years ago where they won four.
At those championshps Van der Burgh won gold in the 50 breaststroke, and bronze in the 100m breaststroke, Zandberg bronze in the 50m backstroke and Chad Ho got bronze in the 5km open water event.