Luc Bruchet (left) will compete in the 5

Luc Bruchet (left) will compete in the 5

Semiahmoo Peninsula Olympians ready for spotlight

Surrey, White Rock athletes prepare to compete in Rio over the next week.

The Semiahmoo Peninsula’s Olympians have landed in Rio.

White Rock’s Hilary Caldwell and South Surrey’s Richard Weinberger were the first to head south to Brazil – swimming events are among the first on the Olympic schedule, which began Friday – and Monday morning, distance runner Luc Bruchet, an Elgin Park Secondary graduate, announced via Twitter that he was also en route.

“The day is finally here!” wrote Bruchet, who will compete for Canada in the men’s 5,000-m race.

Caldwell – who also competed at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London – will be the first local athlete to compete at the Games.

Her event, the women’s 200-m backstroke, begins tomorrow (Thursday). Caldwell, 25, will swim in the fourth heat, with the hope of advancing to the semifinals and then finals later in the day.

In 2012, Caldwell placed 18th in the heats, and did not advance.

Meanwhile, her Canadian aquatics teammate Weinberger will race the open-water 10-km marathon event on Tuesday, Aug. 16.

Like Caldwell, Weinberger is also a 2012 Olympian, having won bronze in the 10-km event in London.

This time around, he told Peace Arch News in a late-July interview, he’s “going for gold and that’s it.”

Bruchet – a first-time Olympian – will have a few days in Rio to gain his bearings and adjust to the Olympic atmosphere before lacing up for competition next week.

The first round of the men’s 5,000-m is set for Wednesday, Aug. 17, and the final – should he qualify – will be held three days later, on Aug. 20.

Other Surrey Olympians include Christabel Nettey – who will compete in women’s long jump on Aug. 16 – and Newton’s Sukhi Panesar, who is a member of Canada’s men’s field hockey team.

Canada played its first game of the field-hockey tournament on Saturday, losing 3-1 to the defending Olympic gold medallists from Germany.

Surrey gymnast Shallon Olsen is also in Rio, and has already competed in a handful of events, including uneven bars, floor, beam and vault.

Canada had an exciting start to the Rio Games, led by an unlikely star – 16-year-old swimmer Penny Oleksiak.

A day after helping Canada win a bronze medal in the women’s 4×100 freestyle relay on Saturday, the teenager won silver Sunday in the women’s 100-m butterfly.

Canada has also fared well on the rugby pitch – the national women’s sevens team won bronze Monday afternoon.

As well, the Canadian men’s volleyball team pulled off a stunning upset of the highly-ranked American team on Saturday, knocking off the U.S. team in three sets.

With the win, the Canadian team earned a date with No. 1-ranked Brazil Tuesday.

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