Nine former UVic athletes, one coach bound for London Games

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By Vikes Communications

Victoria (ISN) – This summer, several Vikes alumni in the sports of rowing and swimming will represent both the University of Victoria, as well as Canada at the 2012 London Olympic Games. 

Several athletes from the University of Victoria Vikes athletics program have moved on to compete for Canada on the international stage. Over 150 Vikes athletes in a wide range of sports have competed for Canada, amassing 37 gold, 19 silver and 8 bronze medals in Olympic and Paralympic competition. UVic rowers alone have totaled 94 medals since the 1976 Olympics in Montreal.

The London Olympics are set for Jul 27-Aug 12, with rowing and swimming scheduled for the first two weeks of competition.

In rowing, Canada’s women’s eight finishing 300th of a second behind gold medalists, the United States, at the 2012 World Cup, hosted in Lucerne Switzerland. The second place finish in 2012 and at the 2011 World Rowing Championship was good for a qualifying spot to Londo. Rowing veterans and Vikes alumnae Rachelle Viinberg (nee de Jong) and Darcy Marquardt, will be two of the names on the list to go. Marquardt will be looking for redemption this year after coming just shy of a medal in the women’s pair in 2004 and the women’s eight in 2008. Viinberg is also no stranger to the Olympic stage, after capturing eighth place at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

London-bound rower Lindsay Jennerich is expected to pace the lightweight doubles race this year. Jennerich had top-two performances at the World Rowing Championships, finishing first in 2010 and second in 2011. The Victoria-native qualified for this year’s Olympics at the 2011 World Rowing Championships in Bled, Slovenia, racing 7:03:74 behind Australia (7:03:25).

The 2012 Canadian men’s eight, typical medal favourites, will include Vikes alumni Gabe Bergen and Doug Csima. Both helped the eight to set a new world record in a time of 5:19.35 during their heat race at the 2012 World Cup in Lucerne Switzerland. In the final, the eight went on to capture the bronze medal and qualify for London. Both Bergan and Csima were also in the crew that placed fourth at the 2010 World Cup and eighth at the 2011 World Cup.

Also a 2012 Olympic medalist hopeful is 2008 Beijing bronze medalist and 2010 CIS swimming rookie of the year Ryan Cochrane. The 23-year-old qualified for London in the 1500-m during 2011 FINA World Championships and secured his spot for the 1500-m and additionally the 400-m freestyle at the 2012 Olympic swim trials in Montreal.

Vikes alumna Hilary Caldwell earned her spot to London after placing second in the women’s 200-metre backstroke also at the 2012 Olympic swim trials. Caldwell touched in at a time of 2:19.14, meeting the Olympic standards. This will be Caldwell’s first Olympic nomination.

Stephanie Horner will compete in her second Olympics in the 400-m individual medley after cruising to victory in 4:42.25 at the 2012 Olympic trials.

Open water swimmer, Richard Weinberger, won the London 10km Marathon Swimming International, the test event for the Olympic games. Weinberger won by a margin of 26 seconds, soundly beating second place Olympic favourite Thomas Lurz of Germany. Weinberger was also the champion at the 2011 Pan American Games, winning the 10-km open water event in 1:57.31. Weinberger qualified for London after winning the silver medal at the FINA Olympic Marathon qualifier on Jun. 10 in Portugal. This will be Weinberger’s first Olympic nomination.

Also representing the Vikes at the 2012 Olympics is Vikes cross-country and track head coach Brent Fougner. Fougner will travel as the Canadian senior national event group coach. Fougner was also present at the 2008 games as Canada’s assistant coach, primarily focusing on Canada’s middle distance competitors.

The 2012 summer Olympic games are set to take place from Jul 27-Aug 12. For more information visit london2012.com

 

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