Canadian bronze-medallist Richard Weinberger (right) on the Olympic podium with gold medallist Oussama Mellouli of Tunesia

South Surrey’s Weinberger wins Olympic bronze in open-water swim

Former Pacific Sea Wolves swimmer finishes 5.2 seconds behind gold medallist in men's 10-km marathon swim at London Summer Olympics

After a grueling swim in the cold waters of Serpentine Lake in London’s Hyde Park, a tired Richard Weinberger – swept up in the hysteria of an historic Olympic performance – still found time for his family Friday.

“I love you, mom!” the 22-year-old South Surrey native yelled, spying his mother, Marina, in the crowd after stepping off the podium, where just moments before he was awarded a bronze medal in the men’s 10-km open-water swim.

Weinberger, a former Pacific Sea Wolves swimmer who learned to swim in a family pool in Saudi Arabia where his father, Tony, a commercial pilot, was once stationed, was considered by many to be a medal contender, if not exactly a favourite. At just 22 years old, Weinberger was one of the youngest swimmers in the field, and only took up marathon swimming a few years ago after moving to Victoria to swim at the University of Victoria.

On Friday, he finished the 10-km course in one hour, 50 minutes and 0.5 seconds, which was 1.8 seconds behind silver medallist Thomas Lurz of Germany and 5.2 back of Tunesia’s Oussama Mellouli, who nabbed gold.

Weinberger’s medal was Canada’s 17th at the 2012 Summer Olympics, and the country’s third podium finish in swimming. It was also Canada’s first-ever Olympic medal in an open-water event.

It’s also the third medal for the Semiahmoo Peninsula, as the third-place finish at Hyde Park comes on the heels of Canada’s national women’s soccer team winning bronze over France Thursday, and White Rock’s Christine Girard winning bronze in weightlifting earlier in the Games.

The women’s soccer team is coached by Peninsula resident John Herdman, while Maeve Glass – former president of Peace Arch Soccer – is the team’s equipment manager.

And though it’s been a most successful few weeks for all hometown Olympians – swimmer Hilary Caldwell rounded out the local contingent in London – Friday belonged to Weinberger.

The podium finish caps an impressive few months for the young swimmer, who has second- and third-place finishes on the World Cup circuit this year. He also won an Olympic test event on the Hyde Park course last August, so the course was not unfamiliar to him.

He qualified for the Olympics in June, when he finished second to Mellouli at a race in Portugal. In that race, Weinberger had to fight his way back from 49th – dead last – which is where he sat after one lap after he was forced to stop and readjust his goggles.

Last month, Weinberger’s coach, Ron Jacks, called him “the fastest improving open-water swimmer in the world.”

Just Posted

Grieving South Surrey mom ‘disappointed’ province not moving quicker to fix recovery homes

Min. Judy Darcy says new regulations, effective Dec. 1, follow ‘many horror stories’

Potters’ House of Horrors sets date for opening weekend in Surrey

The ‘Death Valley Motor Inn’ is an all-new haunted house this year

North Delta MLA Ravi Kahlon cleared of conflict allegations

Commissioner finds MLA’s father’s taxi licence doesn’t equal a conflict of interest while working on ride-sharing regulations

Surrey school district unveils its first rainbow crosswalk

Superintendent Jordan Tinney says colour crossing ‘a statement that everyone is welcome in Surrey’

Date set for complete closure of North Surrey Recreation Centre

Users will be directed to programs and services within a four-kilometre radius of the site

Pickle me this: All the outrageous foods at this year’s PNE

Pickled cotton candy, deep-fried chicken skins, and ramen corndogs are just a start

New study suggests autism overdiagnosed: Canadian expert

Laurent Mottron: ‘Autistic people we test now are less and less different than typical people’

B.C. father tells judge he did not kill his young daughters

Andrew Berry pleaded not guilty to the December 2017 deaths

Trans Mountain gives contractors 30 days to get workers, supplies ready for pipeline

Crown corporation believes the expansion project could be in service by mid-2022

Mammoth sturgeon catch was ‘a fish of a lifetime’ for Chilliwack guide

Sturgeon was so enormous it tied for largest specimen every tagged and released in the Fraser

Fraser River sea bus proposed to hook into TransLink system

Maple Ridge councillor just wants to start discussion

Rosemount cooked diced chicken linked to listeria case in B.C.

The symptoms of listeria include vomiting, nausea, fever, muscle aches

B.C. seniors allowed more choice to stay in assisted living

Province doesn’t need to wait for a complaint to investigate care, Adrian Dix says

Most Read