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Sunday, September 29, 2013

Don't Give Richard Weinberger An Edge In The RCP Tiburon

If there is a swimmer out there who you do NOT want at your feet, it is Canadian Richard Weinberger. The young Canadian has a finishing kick like few others. And he is anxious to show it at today's 1 nautical mile RCP Tiburon Mile where only the winner takes home cash, US$10,000 worth. His performance in the 10 km showcase race at this summer's FINA World Championships was telling even if he made a 'fatal mistake' and finished fifth, 0.7 seconds away from a medal.

The 23-year-old Weinberger missed a turning buoy midway through the 10 km race in Barcelona. The inadvertent mistake would have destroyed a lesser athlete. But Weinberger is a winner - even if he was more than 70 meters behind the lead pack. As he had to U-turn and leave his position near the front of the pack in order to repeat the turn, he was forced to demonstrate his mettle. "I’m one of the strongest guys out there and I know I could have come first. It’s just so disappointing that I made such an amateur mistake and I didn’t notice the turning buoy pass on my right. I know I’m better than that."

Playing catch-up by over the length of an Olympic pool, Weinberger battled back little by little, stroke by stroke, to the front. As the world's fastest men entered the final lap, he has moved back into position winning over the crowd with his impressive comeback. "I’m pretty proud of the fact that I didn’t give up. I tried to stay cool but I knew it was a fatal mistake and I paid for it." As he fought back through a school of frenetic competitors churning his arms and kicking his feet like no other, Weinberger found himself in a three-way battle for third as Spyridon Gianniotis and Thomas Lurz charged ahead as Weinberger had no extra gears left. Two-time Olympic champion Oussama Mellouli just out-touched Weinberger for the bronze as Damien Cattin-Vidal of France took fourth by just 0.1 second.

"We’re disappointed he made a mistake around a buoy and had to make that up. That obviously cost him a little bit more energy than he wanted to put in. He still fought really hard,” said Weinberger’s coach, Ron Jacks. “It shows a lot of character. It shows that he doesn’t give up and I think that shows a lot of substance as a person for Richard.”

Swimming Canada High Performance Director John Atkinson knows both Canadians - like nearly every athlete out there - showed their competitive spirit. "We have world-class athletes who showed their mental toughness today. The way that Eric got back in after the 5 km and was competitive in the 10, it’s a learning experience for him. Richard Weinberger, obviously there was an error in the race, but the quality of the athlete is that he could get back on terms and be there in the finish with the top athletes in the world. He’s world-class and showed that today and he’ll bounce back for the 25 km."

Today's race among champions will require a whole lotta competitive spirit...and Richard Weinberger has it in abundance.

Copyright © 2013 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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