BARCELONA – Richard Weinberger is using a near-miss as motivation for a second chance to win a medal at the FINA World Championships in Barcelona.
Weinberger fell 0.7 seconds short of bronze in Monday’s 10-km open water marathon. The Olympic bronze medallist settled for fifth after missing a turning buoy that cost him several seconds of backtracking midway through the race.
Entering Saturday’s 25-km, the final event on the open water schedule, the 23-year-old from Victoria has had a few days to process what happened.
“In a way my position in the 10-km has motivated me in the 25-km because I’m hungry for more and I want some redemption,” Weinberger says.
Now he’ll take on the most grueling event in the world championships, a roughly five-hour swim in the harbor of Moll de la Fusta. It’s a race he’s never done on a competitive stage.
“I’ve done one in the pool in practice, so I have a feel for the kind of distance and the timelines, how long I’m swimming and what I want to do in regards to pacing in the race,” he says.
Weinberger’s coach, Ron Jacks, says the major difference with such a long distance is that after 18 to 20 km of swimming, the body relies entirely on energy ingested at feeding stops during the race.
“Getting used to that sort of changeover, that’s different from the 10-km. It’s how he adjusts to the ups and downs of the 25-km,” Jacks said. “That’s a feeling that’s hard to deal with. I think he will have a lot of mental fight to come back and be in the medals.”
That said, Jacks hesitates to make any predictions about the 25-km, although he would like to see both Weinberger and Montreal’s Philippe Guertin in the top 12. Finishes in the top 12 earn Canada points in the overall open water championship race, in which Canada sits seventh.
“In this sport there’s no such thing as ‘expect’ and in a 25-km that’s definitely the case,” Jacks says.
On the women’s side, Nadine Williams of Sherwood Park, Alta., will represent Canada.