Just getting the opportunity to swim the Olympic open-water course in London was exciting enough for Richard Weinberger, but he did himself one better Saturday, winning the men’s 10-km race at the Serpentine in Hyde Park.
Weinberger, 21, won the race in a time of one hour, 50 minutes and 49.8 seconds, which puts the Surrey native – who now trains in Victoria – “right into the fight for an Olympic medal,” according to his coach at the University of Victoria, Peter Vizsolyi.
The gold medal was Weinberger’s first in international competition.
“The plan was to go hard and finish first,” he said in a Swimming Canada release. “The conditions were perfect for me.”
A strategy session with coach Ron Jacks helped spur him to victory.
“My coach and I reviewed our race strategy from what we learned (at World Aquatic Championships) in Shangai, and on the last few laps, I managed to put away and take the lead.
“From there, all I could think of was hang in there and get your hand on the wall.”
Germany’s Thomas Lurtz and Greece’s Spyros Giannianos – both medallists at world championships – finished second and third, respectively.
Next summer, Weinberger, who was 17th in the 10-km event at worlds in Shanghai, will swim at an Olympic qualifying meet in Portugal.