UVic Vikes swimmer Richard Weinberger tossed his cap and lost his goggles, but still won an Olympic berth on Sunday.
The 22-year-old Surrey native, who relocated to Victoria, recovered from the incident with sensational pace to earn a silver medal in the 10-kilometre Olympic qualifier in Setubal, Portgual.
“To know I’m going to the Olympics is just unexplainable,” Weinberger said in a statement on Swim Canada’s website. “I don’t think it has sunk in just yet.”
In the first 200 metres of the lengthy race, Weinberger’s podium chances looked in jeopardy when he purposely took his swim cap off but accidentally removed his goggles, too. He was forced to stop to put his goggles on, during which time he slipped to last place.
Oussama Mellouli (Tunisia) won gold in one hour, 45 minutes and 18 seconds – 12 seconds ahead of Weinberger, 1:45:30, and Petar Stoychev (Bulgaria) 1:45:34.
It’s all part of a banner year for Weinberger as a favourite in the leadup to the Olympic event. He won gold at the test event last summer at Hyde Park (London) and then again at the Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico in October. He also won silver and bronze in the World Cup series in Argentina and Brazil.
Weinberger is the eighth Victoria-based swimmer to be named to the London Games. The top nine finishers – with a limit of one per country – earned an Olympic nomination. Zsofia Balazs of Montreal also qualified for Canada, with a sixth-place finish in the women’s 10-km.