South African swimmer Cameron van der Burgh finished the 100m breaststroke in style after he clocked in 58.46 seconds to win Olympic gold, and immediately set a new world record by beating Australia’s Brenton Rickard’s time. But were many who weren’t impressed with Cameron van der Burgh’s and accused him of cheating after an underwater footage surfaced which showed the swimmer used illegal moves to get a few precious milliseconds ahead of his competition on each turn.
The controversy arose from Cameron van der Burgh’s unconventional use of the dolphin kick.
According to FINA’s official rules, during breaststroke competitions, swimmers are allowed to take-off against the wall with a dolphin kick and then one dolphin kick at each turn prior to the breaststroke kick. There is a panel of judges above closely monitoring that the swimmers to not use illegal means to get ahead. However, underwater footage shows that Cameron van der Burgh’s snuck in two extra kicks.
The Australians and swimmer Christian Sprenger, who was beaten by Cameron van der Burgh, have launched grand protests that the offender should be held accountable. Even Brenton Rickard, who spoke to the media before Cameron van der Burgh got a chance, stated that the South African had cheated with extra dolphin kicks.
Cameron van der Burgh, who had already seen the underwater footage, acknowledged that he got ahead by using extra dolphin kicks but he insisted that “99 percent” of the competition did so.
‘‘I think every single swimmer does that,” said Cameron van der Burgh.
He bought up Japan’s gold-medalist Kosuke Kitajama’s name in the conversation, arguing that before the policy was implemented, the four-time gold-medalist used the same technique. Cameron van der Burgh also found it ironic that the Australians should turn a “blind eye” to Brenton Rickard, who was also cheating with the dolphin kick, which was evident underwater footage.
Although Cameron van der Burgh agreed that it may not be “the moral thing” to cheat with the dolphin kick, he wasn’t ready to let his four years of hard work go to waste. Cameron van der Burgh simply refused to play clean by competition that also used the same technique.
“If you’re not doing it, you’re falling behind,” debated Cameron van der Burgh.
“For instance for me, the 50m breaststroke last year (at the world championships),” continued Cameron van der Burgh. “I lost the 50m breaststroke because another Brazilian swimmer did (the dolphin kick) and beat me.”
While Cameron van der Burgh was all-in for going with the underwater footage system at all competitions since it was the only method of curbing this trend of extra kicks in breaststroke competitions and will bring “peace of mind” for the swimmers.
‘‘I’m really for it. If they can bring it, it will better the sport,” stated Cameron van der Burgh. “But I’m not willing to lose to someone that is doing it.’’
He bought to light a World Cup event in Sweden which hosted the underwater footage technology, and everyone went hope satisfied.
“Nobody attempted it (the dolphin kick)…everybody came up clean and we all had peace of mind,” said Cameron van der Burgh.