CASTAIC LAKE, Calif. – Richard Weinberger of Victoria, the Olympic bronze medallist in 2012, was the top Canadian Friday with a seventh place finish in the men’s 10-kilometre race at the U.S. Open Water Swimming Championships.
Canada fielded its team for this July’s FINA World Swimming Championships in Budapest while the event was the world’s qualifier for some countries including the American team.
In the men’s 10 kilometre, reigning world champion Jordan Wilimovsky of the U.S. won the gold medal in one hour and 57 minutes and 45.61 seconds. Brendan Casey, also of the U.S. was second in 1:58:37.38 and Simon Huitenga of Australia took the bronze in 1:58:38.74.
Weinberger was just over a minute off the pace clocking 1:58:56.73 just ahead of Philippe Guertin of St-Hubert, Que., in eighth in 1:58:58.58. Eric Hedlin of Victoria was 19th.
‘’We were really pleased with our performances considering where we are at right now in our training,’’ said Swimming Canada’s distance and open water coach Mark Perry. ‘’We were up against many swimmers who were in peak condition because it was their world’s qualifier.’’
In the women’s 10-kilometre, Ashley Twitchell repeated as American champion finishing in 2:04:17.84. Her compatriot Haley Anderson was second in 2:05:10.85 and Rachele Bruni of Italy was third in 2:05:11.25.
Jade Dusablon of Quebec City was 12th, Stephanie Horner of Beaconsfield, Que., 17th and Breanne Siwicki of Winnipeg 31st.
‘’This is a really important event in our preparation for the worlds from a team standpoint as well,’’ said Perry. ‘’It’s our swimmers first meet of the year and we really saw an excellent cohesion between our athletes.’’
Leading into the event there was a lot of concern about potential frigid waters for this weekend’s race but hot weather conditions raised the lake thermometer to a tolerable 20.5 Celsius.
Competition ends Sunday with the men’s and women’s five kilometre.
Full results: usaswimming.org