Van Der Burgh: I Still Can’t Smell After COVID

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TeamSA swimming icon Cameron van der Burgh has spoken about how he still has no sense of smell despite the fact that he has fully recovered from Covid-19, writes Gary Lemke.

Van der Burgh, who won 18 gold medals in breaststroke competition at the Olympics, Commonwealth Games and World Championships, was talking to rising TeamSA sensation Tatjana Schoenmaker, herself a breaststroker who was one of the favourites to win gold at the 2020 Tokyo Games before the Covid-19-enforced postponement. Van der Burgh contracted Covid-19 in March.

‘It was an awful experience,’ Van der Burgh told Schoenmaker from London in Team SA’s #FlashbackToInspire2020 campaign. ‘Luckily we caught it quite early, but it was scary, because of the stats a couple of months ago. I had a really high fever, 39.5 degrees, and [wife]Nefeli is pregnant, so it’s scary. We followed the advice at the time, which was to take paracetamol and drink a lot of water.

‘Eventually it eased off. But, I still can’t smell anything. I love my wine, but I can’t smell it. The thing is that I can smell onion in the house even though there’s no onion. I have to do what amounts to smell training, learning to smell things again, like coffee or cinnamon. The upside is that we now have the antibodies so hopefully we are immune to catching it again, for now.’

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Production engineer and certified swim coach. Full-time IT consultant, spare-time swimming aficionado. 2 sons, 2 daughters and a wife. President of the Faroe Islands Swimming Association. Likes to run :-)

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