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S. Africa's Cameron van der Burgh sets world mark in breaststroke

July 29, 2012|By Lisa Dillman
  • South Africa's Cameron van der Burgh relaxes after breaking the world record Sunday in the men's 100-meter breaststroke.
South Africa's Cameron van der Burgh relaxes after breaking the world… (Fabrice Coffrini / AFP /…)

LONDON — There would be no three-peat for Kosuke Kitajima of Japan, who was attempting to become the first male swimmer to win the same event at three Olympics.

Instead, the man who stole the show on Sunday night was Cameron van der Burgh of South Africa. He won the men's 100-meter breaststroke and Olympic gold in a world-record time of 58.46 seconds.

The previous world mark had been held by Rickard Benton of Australia, who went 58.58 at the World Championships at Rome in 2009.

Second was Christian Sprenger of Australia (58.93), and Mr. Comeback, 30-year-old American Brendan Hansen, won the bronze (59.49).

In fact, Hansen, swimming from Lane 8, beat his long-time rival, Kitajima, who finished fifth. Hansen had been the eighth and final qualifier, barely making it out of the semifinal round.

Hansen was done with swimming after the 2008 Olympics and seemed resolute about his decision. Like so many others, however, the lure of the sport drew him back to the pool and he seemed to relish the moment.

And now, yet another medal to add to the collection for the three-time Olympian.

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