LONDON, England, August 6. CAMERON van der Burgh, the winner of the men's 100 breaststroke at the London Olympics, has admitted to doing a series of illegal dolphin kicks at the start of the 100 breast final, according to a story in the Sydney Morning Herald.
“It's got to the sort of point where if you're not doing it you're falling behind or your giving yourself a disadvantage so everyone's pushing the rules and pushing the boundaries, so if you're not doing it, you're not trying hard enough,” van der Burgh told the Herald. He added that “99 percent” of the swimmers are taking advantage of the rule allowing dolphin kicks by adding more at the start or implementing them where not allowed.
Footage had emerged to back up van der Burgh's claim, from the blog bestswimming.com.br, but that video is no longer available.
“If you're not doing it, you're falling behind. It's not obviously – shall we say – the moral thing to do, but I'm not willing to sacrifice my personal performance and four years of hard work for someone that is willing to do it and get away with it,” van der Burgh said in the article.
Van der Burgh won the 100 breast in a world record of 58.46. While not expressing regret on the illegal kicks, van der Burgh did say the cheating would stop if FINA enacted a system to allow for underwater video judging.
“I'm really for it. If they can bring it, it will better the sport. But I'm not willing to lose to someone that is doing it.”
Swimming World first reported that the silver medalist in the event, Christian Sprenger, had performed an illegal dolphin kick at the finish of the 100 breast in the semifinal, also pointing out at the time the need for underwater video judging.
In the Herald article, van der Burgh called out Australian Brenton Rickard as another swimmer who illegally used dolphin kicks in the final. Rickard said he would like to see underwater video judging as well.
In the Swimming World Reaction Time section, New Zealand's Glenn Snyders, who swam in the semifinals of the 100 breast, wrote that he would also be in support of underwater video judging.