Van der Burgh eager to blitz rivals

SWIMMING sensation and double short course breaststroke world record-holder Cameron van der Burgh says he is ready for the challenge of the World Cup.

Van der Burgh is expected to lead a list of top South African swimmers in the opening leg of the lucrative Fina/Arena Swimming World Cup, which takes place at the Kings Park Aquatic Centre in Durban on October 16 and 17.

At the Telkom SA Short Course Championships held in Pietermaritzburg at the beginning of August, Van der Burgh bettered his own world marks to 25,43 seconds in the 50m breaststroke and 55,99 in the 100m of the same event.

With $10000 (R741000) for the world record up for grabs during the five-leg Fina/Arena Swimming World Cup series, the Tshwane speedster is expected to be hunting for even more sensational times.

"By bettering the world records in August, I have probably made life more difficult for myself now when there are great financial incentives at stake, but I am really looking forward to the event," he said.

Van der Burgh pocketed $100000 (then R1,01million) as he topped the overall points ranking in last year's series.

"My preparations for the coming World Cup are similar to that of last year, with much emphasis having been placed on gym work, which converts to power when I am in the swimming pool," he said.

Another local who is likely to turn up the heat is Roland Schoeman, who set a world best of 20,30 in the 50m freestyle at the national short course championships, while international swimmers will include American backstroke star Peter Marshall, Marieke Guehrer, Liesel Jones and Sophie Edington.

Swimming SA chief executive Shaun Adriaanse said by hosting the World Cup, a platform has been created for top local swimmers to challenge the world's best.