CAMERON van der Burgh opened his 50m breaststroke campaign at the world championships in Budapest on Tuesday morning by going faster than he’s ever been before‚ but he was still only second-quickest of the heats, writes David Isaacson.
English phenom Adam Peaty‚ who won the 100m breaststroke crown the previous evening‚ improved his own 50m world record as he touched in 26.10sec in the last final heat.
Swimming in the penultimate preliminary Van der Burgh hit the wall in 26.54.
The rest of the world is getting quicker too‚ with Brazilian Joao Gomes Junior finishing second behind the South African veteran in 26.67 for the third-best time overall.
But it’s a good sign for Van der Burgh‚ who is looking to push the pedal down harder in the next two rounds.
Chad Le Clos finished second his 200m butterfly heat behind reigning world champion and home-crowd favourite Laszlo Cseh.
Le Clos‚ the 2013 world and 2012 Olympic champion in this event‚ led for the first half — his 100m split of 54.19sec was the fastest of the 16 qualifiers for the evening semifinals — but Cseh powered past him in the second half to touch in 1min 54.08sec‚ the fastest time of the morning.
Le Clos’s 1:55.90 was the fifth-quickest of the morning‚ behind Japan’s Daiya Seto (1:54.89)‚ Viktor Bromer of Denmark (1:55.13) and Bulgarian Antani Ivanov (1:55.55).
Behind him‚ however‚ were Rio Olympic silver and bronze medallists‚ Masato Sakai of Japan (1:55.94) and Hungarian Tamas Kenderesi (1:55.96).
Van der Burgh and Le Clos compete in the semifinals on Tuesday evening competing for spots in Wednesday’s finals.