Source: Ardy Ramezani, with files from SwimmingCanada
VICTORIA, B.C. – University of Victoria Vikes swimmer EricHedlin was the first to get claim Canada a medal on the opening dayof the FINA World Championships held in Barcelona, Spain. Inaddition, 2012 Olympic bronze medallist and fellow Vike RichardWeinberger finished fifth place in the men’s 10-km open water eventtwo days later.
Hedlin, competing in the men’s 5-kilometre open water race, swama time of 53:31.6 to earn the second spot on the podium. Thesecond-year Vike fell short of gold to Tunisia’s Oussama Melloulibut finished well-ahead of seven-time defending champion ThomasLurz of Germany.
Without much time to rest after his 5-km race, Hedlin joinedWeinberger in the 10-km open water event. Second-year Weinberger,who swam to the podium in the 10-km in London last year, felljust 0.7 seconds behind bronze medallist Mellouli of Tunisia tofinish in fifth-place. Hedlin finished 23rd in a field of 66.
Weinberger’s fifth-place finish in 1:49:19.9 did not comewithout drama, as the 23-year old missed a turning buoy midwaythrough the race at Moll de la Fusta and was forced to leave hisposition near the front of the pack to repeat the turn.Relentlessly, Weinberger battled back to the front as the rest ofthe lead pack enter the final lap.
“I’m pretty proud of the fact that I didn’t give up,” saidWeinberger in a Swimming Canada report. “I tried to stay cool but Iknew it was a fatal mistake and I paid for it.”
Impressively, just a week ago Hedlin was in Kazan, Russia, alsorepresenting Canada at the 27th Summer Universiade. Hedlin earnedone of Canada’s 16 medals, after earning bronze in the men’s 800-mfreestyle. In the men’s 1500-m race, Hedlin was unfortunate not tobring Canada’s tally to 17 to after finishing in a closefourth-place.
As a rookie, Hedling competed at the CIS swimming championshipslast February, picking up two medals for UVic. He earned silver inthe men’s 400-m freestyle and in the meet’s memorable 500-m event,Hedlin swam to gold as his Vikes teammates finished the podiumsweep with Will Brothers and Weinberger close behind. Hedlin wasnamed a CIS first team All-Canadian and honoured as the 2013 CISRookie Swimmer of the Year for his notable performances.
As the World Championships continue, both Hedlin and Weinbergerhave one event left each. Hedlin will be competing in thethree-person 5-km relay on Jul. 25, while Weinberger will belooking to bounce back with eyes on the podium in the 25-km openwater on Jul. 27.
The FINA World championships will run to Aug. 3 and the competitionalso features water polo, diving, synchronized swimming and highdiving. For further information visit: www.fina.org or www.swimming.ca