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Games Weinberger earns invite to Olympic course

South Surrey open-water swimmer still has eyes on earning spot at London 2012
Sean McGovern will join the Surrey Eagles this season.

After an impressive performance at World Aquatic Championships earlier this summer, Richard Weinberger earned an invite to a London invitational meet last weekend, where competed on the same 10-km open-water course that will be used at the 2012 Summer Olympics.

Weinberger, a 21-year-old South Surrey native who now lives and trains in Victoria, finished 17th in the 10-km swim at worlds, which were held in Shanghai, China.

“One of my goals in Shanghai was to make the London Invitational,” Weinberger said in a release.

The 10-km race – which is being called an Olympic test event – was held Saturday at London’s Hyde Park.

Had Weinberger fininshed in the top-10 in Shanghai, he would have automatically qualified for the Summer Games – “I missed the top 10 by 10 seconds,” he said – but regardless, the London event provides a valuable opportunity to get used to the course, should he qualify for the Olympics in the next year.

Weinberger, currently ranked fifth in Canada in the 10-km distance, will get another opportunity to make the Olympic team next year, at a second qualifying meet where the top 15 swimmers will punch their ticket for England next summer.

“Now I really have my heart set on making the Olympic team next year. Racing the Olympic course… will give me a heads-up before the Olympics,” he said prior to the race. “I’ve set some new goals after World Championships and I really want to be a podium contender (in London.”

The London open-water course is quite different than the one Weinberger swam in Shanghai. For starters, the water temperature is far cooler than it was in China, where the water reached nearly 30 degrees celsius.