South African swimming sensation, Cameron van der Burgh has hung up his goggles at the age of 30 after winning the 100m breaststroke at the FINA championships in Hangzhou, China on Wednesday.
Van der Burgh bows out on a high, setting a new World Championship record of 56.01 in the 100m breaststroke to take his world championships gold medal tally to five. He said he couldn’t be happier with the outcome of his last race.
I have won the 100m breast gold medal here in Hangzhou and I feel very blessed to be here in this room with my family and coach.
The Pretoria-born swimming sensation took up swimming at the age of 10. He announced himself on the international swimming stage as a 19-year-old when he walked away with a bronze medal in the 50m breaststroke in 2007 at the World Championships in Melbourne.
An Emotional Moment for Cameron van der Burgh
An emotional van der Burgh said it was an amazing flashback to visualise a long time ago when he was a still a young kid with a lot of dreams. It had been amazing to fulfil those dreams, he said.
The Decision to Retire
Earlier this year the breaststroke sprint specialist mentioned that he was planning to retire from competitive swimming after the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo at the age of 32.
After his win in Hangzhou he decided to bring the date forward. Recently married, he has decided to now shift his focus to his new career in finance as a hedge fund analyst in London, his new home.
Talking about his new business career, Van der Burgh said that he sees himself as a chameleon.
“Moving forward to business, I have been lucky enough to join a world’s leading company where I am learning along the way. Responsibilities will come with time but I can see my progression in the four months since I have joined. I have this urge to prove that I am more than Cameron the swimmer.
“I have now started to work at a private hedge funding company in London where we trend with oil and the rush. What I get from there is very similar to what I get when I race.
Swimming Has Given Him the Platform he Needed
“The sport of swimming has given me the platform I needed for the rest of my life,” he said.
In an interview with SwimmingWorldMagazine.com, Cameron van der Burgh said he had had a wonderful career – a fortuitous one – and he wants to end it on his own terms.
“I have a lot of other dreams and other aspirations in my life. I owe so much to swimming but I don’t want that to be what defines the rest of my life. I am proactively doing a lot of things and I am just a big advocate for swimmers to always prepare for life after sport.”
Cameron van der Burgh – A Champion In & Out of the PoolFriends and family pay tribute to this swimming legend on the day he announces his retirement from competitive swimming. Always a part of the family, good luck for the future Cam! #arenawaterinstinct
Posted by arena Racing on Wednesday, December 12, 2018
The 30-year-old bows out as a sporting legend and the current world short-course 50m and 100m breaststroke record holder. The South African was the first athlete to win an individual Olympic gold medal in men’s swimming during the 2012 Olympics when he won the 100m breaststroke event.
Cameron Van Der Burgh Achievements
The multiple-time Olympian is one of the most successful swimmers in South Africa, boasting an illustrious career that lasted for over a decade. In 2014, van der Burgh received a Presidential Award and an Order of Ikhamanga, which recognises South Africans who have achieved greatness in the fields of arts, culture, literature, music, journalism, and sport.
At the 2011 Swimming South Africa Annual Aquatic Awards, he was named Swimmer of the Year, an in 2013, at the South African Sports Awards, Sportsman of the Year. The financial management graduate was also South Africa’s flag bearer at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India.
Van der Burgh has won 35 career medals 17 of which are gold medals. He was done it all, from winning gold medals at the Commonwealth Games, Olympic Games, and World Championships to breaking the 100m and 50m breaststroke world records.
“Thank you so much for every person that has been a part of my life and my swimming career. Swimming has given me so much and has ‘springboarded’ me to the next part of my future,” said van der Burgh.
Van der Burgh has an opportunity to win his first ever 50-100m breaststroke double gold of his career when he competes in the 50m backstroke heat today.
🏆WORLD CHAMPION! 🏆
I couldn't of written a better ending for my last 100 meter race. Looking forward to closing out my career with some fun in the 50m! 😁🇿🇦 pic.twitter.com/Fkd8JinzTh
— Cameron van der Burgh (@Cameronvdburgh) December 12, 2018