PHOENIX, Arizona, October 14. RICHARD Weinberger of Canada is one of the gold medal hopefuls in next week's 10K race at the Pan American Games, and on today's edition of The Morning Swim Show, he talks about the competition he expects to face in the event.
Weinberger also discusses winning the 10K test event in London a couple of months ago. He also weighs his options on securing an Olympic berth in the 10K and in a pool event. Watch the full show in the video player below and visit SwimmingWorld.TV for more video interviews.
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Show Transcript: (Note: This is an automated service where some typos and grammatical errors may occur.)
Jeff Commings: This is The Morning Swim Show for Friday, October 14th 2011. I'm your host, Jeff Commings. And today in the FINIS monitor we'll be joined by Canada's Richard Weinberger. Next week he'll be lining to swim the 10K at the Pan-American Games where he is one of the favorites for the gold medal. And Richard joins us right now in the FINIS monitor from Victoria, British Columbia. Hi Richard, how are you today?
Richard Weinberger: Pretty good. How are you?
Jeff Commings: So are you getting excited for this 10K in Mexico?
Richard Weinberger: Yes, I've been putting a lot of time in the preparation and everything but it's been a challenge with going to school and everything but hopefully I'm ready to go.
Jeff Commings: What are you studying in school?
Richard Weinberger: I'm going into economics.
Jeff Commings: Interesting. What are your career plans along those lines?
Richard Weinberger: Hopefully branch off into business and see what I can do in there.
Jeff Commings: Well I guess there's probably a hundred different things you could do with an Economics degree – that's probably the good thing about it. Well, as I mentioned you were the favorite for the gold medal in this 10K especially now that Alex Meyer from the US, elected not to swim in it. What do you think your chances are for this race?
Richard Weinberger: I told Ron at the beginning of the season — I took a week off — and I told Ron I want to be top 3, I want to be on the podium and hopefully compete with these guys because they're all great swimmers. No matter who the Americans send they're going to be great swimmers – Gemmell, Andrew; Chad LaTourette. Also there are some South American swimmers down south – Samuel De Bada, a great swimmer. There's a guy from Argentina, Ecuador, everything so it's going to be a tough race.
Jeff Commings: It sounds like you're really scoping out the competition.
Richard Weinberger: Yes.
Jeff Commings: Now if you win next week it's going to be your second big win in just a couple of months. You won the 10K test event in London. Take us through the experience of that.
Richard Weinberger: Well, it was definitely unexpected. I've always dreamed of competing with those guys and racing those guys but I never imagined I would be there at this age competing against senior swimmers like Thomas Lurz and Spyros Gianniotis, and I had the proper strategy. My coach Ron Jacks, he pretty much told me what to do and I listened and it just turned out well.
Jeff Commings: Well, tell us about that strategy. What went into play that enabled you to win the race?
Richard Weinberger: So pretty much in London there's eight laps of 1.25K laps, eight of them. And the goal was just hopefully like set a pace for the first four but be long and smooth and easy and then at around the fourth lap take a caffeine drink with aspirin and then just try and push the pace, try and push the pace, not lead but just try and get other people to go so that I can still draft off of them but still push the pace. And so at around the sixth lap or the end of the sixth lap coming into the seventh lap I took the lead and I just went all out and people fell off.
Jeff Commings: Tell me about this — you said you'd take caffeine and aspirin during the race. What do those two things try to help you do?
Richard Weinberger: Caffeine just gives me – it's a mental and physical boost. I realized mentally I'm just taking caffeine so I feel great and physically it just wakes me up. I'm more focused and just ready to move if I have to, if the pace just goes. And a lot of these guys have a lot of speed, there's a lot of sub-15 minute milers in the race and at the end of the race I need to be ready to go and ready to do a final sprint.
Jeff Commings: Is this something you've always done, having caffeine and aspirin, or is it something that you kind of started doing recently?
Richard Weinberger: Well actually Ron had a swimmer beforehand, Greg Streppel, and he always took caffeine at certain parts in the race and it worked out very well for him and so Ron just tried it on me and it works really well for me too so right from the get-go, I tried my very first race down in Florida, Fort Myers, I tried caffeine and I did really well and I liked it so I just stuck to it.
Jeff Commings: What are your thoughts on the Olympic venue there?
Richard Weinberger: Oh, it's gorgeous. I love it there. The basin's amazing. I reckon it's going to be one of the most watched events at the Olympic Games because it's just so viewer-friendly.
Jeff Commings: Well I want to let viewers know that you haven't yet qualified for the Olympic 10K race for Canada. You still have to go through that qualifying swim in Portugal, but I imagine not only being able to swim the test event in London but also winning it has got to give you a little boost of confidence that you can not only qualify but now fight for a medal.
Richard Weinberger: Yes, exactly. I definitely want to be there and I definitely want to compete for hopefully a medal but anything can happen in these open water races and I've got to have respect for the venue, for the swimmers, for location – everything just plays a part and I just got to have respect for just all these variables that could add up to my benefit or add up to a real challenge.
Jeff Commings: We've interviewed a few open water swimmers on the show before. They've said that they trained almost exclusively in the pool and that they do very little actual open water training. Is that true for you as well?
Richard Weinberger: Yes, I like to stick to the pool and just train in the pool because deep water out in the lake and stuff freaks me out.
Jeff Commings: Well I would imagine you're probably going to have to get over that if you want to be a pretty successful open water swimmer. They do some pretty important swims out in the ocean and big lakes too. So tell us about what your plans are for the Canadian Olympic Trials. Do you want to try to make the Olympic team in a pool event as well?
Richard Weinberger: I've always dreamed of that when I was a younger swimmer, when I was like 10 years old, but I just realized that I'm not strong enough to make pool events. The FINA A cuts are ridiculous and we've got Ryan Cochrane, who's well under the FINA A, and I would have to go into the FINA A to make the mile. It's not unrealistic, but it's definitely a challenge and it might be something that I would have to go out of my way to achieve versus I'd rather just stick to the open water swimming and possibly fight for a medal versus just make the FINA A and not even make a final at the Olympics, the 1500.
Jeff Commings: Well look at it this way – I'm sure doing a mile and a 10K just a few days apart would be pretty tiring anyway.
Richard Weinberger: Yes, there have been a lot of swimmers that have done it – Petar Stoychev. He's a great swimmer and he's an older guy but back in the day he was a tough guy and he was able to do it so I don't know, maybe.
Jeff Commings: Well you're a young guy, you're only 21, so maybe for Rio we'll see you step up, do a 1500 and 10K. You'll have built up a little more confidence I'm sure.
Richard Weinberger: Yes, for sure.
Jeff Commings: Well you've got the Pan-Am next week, 10K, and good luck with that and thanks for joining us today.
Richard Weinberger: Thank you very much.
Jeff Commings: All right, that's Richard Weinberger joining us in the FINIS monitor and that's going to do it for today's edition of The Morning Swim Show. Thanks for watching and we'll see you next time.
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