These two articles were originally published on the Swimming Canada website.
Olympic bronze medallist Richard Weinberger of Victoria took 14th spot in the men’s 10 kilometre at the fourth stop on the FINA Open Water Swimming World Cup on Saturday and earned a berth for the 2015 FINA World Swimming Championships this summer.
Jack Burnell of Britain won the gold in one hour and 42 minutes and 06 seconds with Esteban Enderica Salgado of Ecuador second in 1:42.10 and Simone Ruffini of Italy third in 1:42.13. Weinberger was only 14 seconds behind the victor in 1:42.20.
The competition attracted a very strong field since it was a worlds qualifier for several countries.
‘’This was one of the most difficult open water events I’ve been involved in,’’ said Weinberger. ‘’We were continuously bombarded by the waves and the chops which made it difficult to stroke properly. So you really had to use your core body strength to get through.’’
The conditions forced the swimmers to stay closer to the shore.
‘’There was a lot of fighting for position,’’ said Weinberger. ‘’I think the collisions were unintentional but you had to really battle for your spot if you didn’t want to get eaten up.’’
Weinberger was pleased with his race.
‘’It gives me a lot of confidence,’’ he said. ‘’The field was probably stronger than a world championship because top countries like Brazil, Germany and the U.S. could field more of their best swimmers. On the last lap I was really well positioned but it was rough and I didn’t want something unfortunate to happen like getting disqualified. ‘’
Eric Hedlin of Victoria of Victoria grabbed the second world championships spot placing 29th. Philippe Guertin of Montreal was 33rd, Xavier Desharnais of Sherbrooke, Que., was 42nd. and Nicolas Massé-Savard of Gatineau, Que., 43rd.
In the women’s 10-kilometre, Haley Anderson of the U.S. took the gold.
Jade Dusablon of Quebec City was 27th and U.S.-based Canadian Samantha Harding 39th. As the top-two Canadians they gain berths on the world team.
‘’It was my first open water race this season, so I was pretty happy with my performance,’’ said Dusablon. ‘’I kept pace on the first five laps and I felt I had a strong finish.
Open water swimmers round out national team
The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) and Swimming Canada have rounded out the list of swimmers nominated to represent Team Canada at the TORONTO 2015 Pan American Games from July 10 to 26.
Four athletes have been selected to compete in the open water swimming competition based on their performances at the FINA World Cup race in Cozumel on Saturday.
Victoria’s Richard Weinberger, the 2012 Olympic bronze and 2011 Pan Am gold medallist, took 14th spot in the men’s 10-kilometre to earn one of the two men’s spots, along with fellow Victorian Eric Hedlin. Hedlin, a silver medallist in the 5-kilometre at the 2013 FINA World Championships, finished 29th.
“It was a tough race but some of the best guys in the world were there and it was fun competing with them,” Weinberger said. “I’m extremely excited to be competing on home turf and I’m ready to win. I’m really excited because all my family members are going to be there on my mom’s side because they’re all in Toronto or Newfoundland.”
On the women’s side Jade Dusablon of Quebec City earned a spot with a 27th-place finish as did U.S.-based Canadian Samantha Harding in 39th. Dusablon has an eighth-place finish from the 2013 Summer Universiade on her international resume.
“This will be an amazing opportunity to represent Canada in front of a home crowd and we are looking forward to the opportunity very much,” said Swimming Canada High Performance Director John Atkinson.
All four swimmers have also been selected to represent Canada at this year’s FINA World Championships, which run July 24 to Aug. 9 in Kazan, Russia. The worlds will act as the first potential opportunity to qualify for the 10-km open water event at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
“I’m going to be in my best shape and ready to win another Pan Am gold,” Weinberger said. “My eyes are definitely set on qualifying (for Rio) this summer and that’s the most important thing. Before the London Olympics I raced the 10-km World Cup in Roberval and racing two weeks out seemed to really help me peak my performance at the Olympics. Pan Ams is two weeks out of world championships and I think that’s really going to get me in the zone for racing and trying to be the best in the world.”
They join the 36 pool swimmers who were nominated at an announcement last month following the 2015 Team Canada Trials at the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre.
[Click here to read that announcement.]
Open water competition will take place on July 11 and 12 at Ontario Place West Channel, while the pool competition will take place at the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre from July 14–18
In addition to Weinberger’s gold, Canada won four pool medals at the 2011 Pan Am Games in Guadalajara. Canada’s best-ever Pan Am performance in swimming came in 1999, where swimmers won 31 medals – including 13 gold – in Winnipeg.
Canada will field the largest team in its Pan American Games history with more than 700 athletes expected to be named to the Team at the Games in Toronto. With TORONTO 2015 providing a “home Games” experience, as well as a number of qualification opportunities for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, these Games will provide a tremendous experience for Canada’s high performance athletes.