Official website of 16th FINA World Championships 2015 in Kazan
16th FINA World Championships

July 24 - August 9, 2015

Cameron Van der Burgh: Katie Ledecky is the breakthrough of the 2015 FINA World Championships

R-Sport / MIA Rossiya Segodnya
10.08.2015, 16:10 Sport
In his interview with a reporter of the Kazan 2015 OC's Press Office, Cameron Van der Burgh, 2012 London Olympic champion, three-time world champion, South African swimmer who is best remembered as the silver medallist in the 50m backstroke event, shared his impressions of Kazan, key breakthroughs of the Championships, explained the meaning of his tatoo, and predicted the future.

– What is your general impression of the 16th FINA World Championships?

– My impressions are quite positive! The stands were full all the time, and I am pleasantly surprised with Russian audience that greeted and supported absolutely every athlete, not only Russian. That is why, it was such a pleasure to compete and swim here, the fans were cheering up and stimulating. I am still full of admiration. The organisation is at the highest level, the stadium is amazing and the pool is just wonderful. The stands are so close to the swimming pool, that is actually great, there are lots of seats, and the audience support is so loud and distinct. Oh, no, EXTREMELY loud!

– How would you evaluate your performance and the performance of your rivals?

– I am very pleased with my performance. I clocked the best time, the results I am capable to show. Speaking about my main rivals, the are really very strong and should not be underestimated.  I think all heats were complicated and very spectacular. In my distances the situation varies annually. For example, Adam Peaty is a very serious rival and a very talented swimmer. Christian Sprenger from Australia was a very dangerous rival last year. In our sport leaders change with every year passing, and that is absolutely okay, that's why I can not distinguish anyone.

– You are London 2012 Olympic champion, you have something to compare with. What do you think, where the event was better organised?

– It's hard to compare because the Olympic Games is a huge world-scale event encompassing numerous sports. And World Championships are focused on water sports.  Here in Kazan the level of organisation is very high, we were provided with everything - five swimming pools we can either train or perform, there are wonderful venues not only for swimming but also for diving, synchronised swimming, water polo. The FINA World Championships are more specific that is why it is hard to compare. Everything is just great both at the Olympic Games and at the World Championships in Kazan.

– Asian athletes were of great success at the 2015 FINA World Championships. Was it great news for you?

– Asian athletes have achieved great progress for the last three or four years, and the progress is apparent, we all witnessed hight results of Chinese and Japanese athlets. It is the established practice that the best swimmers in the world are from the USA or Australia. And if someone told me a year ago that a guy from China would win the 100m freestyle event, I would never believe it! Nevertheless, Ning Zetao proved the contrary. It's amazing and deserves admiration.

– There are lots of young, very young athletes. What can you say about them?

– Things go like this now, that young athletes show very good results. It's common knowledge that athletes achieve their top form at the age of 22-25. But at present we can observe very many young athlets show just incredible results. The most remarkable example is Katie Ledecky. She is an absolute leader in the 200m, 400m, 800m, 1,500m freestyle women's race where she won gold, and her lead was just incredible! This is impressive. I am not afraid to say that Katie seems to be the breakthrough of these World Championships.

– What conclusions can you draw following the conclusion of the 2015 World Championships? What are your impressions of Kazan?

– Everything was very nice, I am satisfied with both conditions and results, there were many impressive moments. Kazan is a pleasant city. When I had a free evening, I even walked along the main street, Bauman Street, if I am not mistaken. The architecture is very beautiful, we walked around the Kremlin, saw the centre of the city. I liked very much the city and the atmosphere around. My impressions are just positive!

– Who are your main fans?

– My family, my parents and my brother are my main fans. They couldn't come, but I am sure they watched the Championships on TV and followed me on the Internet.

– You've got a wing-shaped tatoo on your shoulder. What does it mean?

– I made the tatoo when I won gold at the Olympic Games. I preferred this one instead of rings because Nike is the Acient Greek goddess of victory and her symbol is wings. And if I succeed at the next Olympic Games, I would make the tatoo on the other shoulder (smiles).

– Looking forward, what are you expecting of the Rio Olympic Games?

– The Olympic Games are the most important competition in every athlete's life, that's why the preparation process would be very hard, I'll have to swim with my maximum capacity. I am planning to train hard for the next 11 months, hopefully, injury free, to gain my optimum shape by the Games. I believe everything will be all right, but I have months of hard training ahead, and I would like to hope for the best.

Press Office of Organising Committee for 16th FINA World Championships