Canada's open water aces to seize historic chance

London 2012 Swimming

OTTAWA – Four Canadian swimmers will compete this weekend in Setubal, Portugal at the FINA Olympic Marathon Swimming Qualifier with high hopes of earning Canada’s first ever spot in the 10km Open Water race at the Olympics.

Zsofia Balaz of Toronto and Nadine Williams of Sherwood Park, Alta. will be aiming to be within the top 9 crossing the finish line to secure their place for London 2012. Balaz, who was the first National champion in the women’s 10km, is driven to become Canada’s first qualifier for the Marathon swimming event at the Olympics since it was first introduced to the Games line up in Beijing. Williams, now a veteran in Open water arena, will be using her international experience to guide her through this test of endurance and crack the top 9. Richard Weinberger of Victoria, BC and Xavier Desharnais of Sherbrooke will be vying for a spot in the Men’s 10km event on the following day.

Weinberger has made a name for himself in the past year winning key Marathon events. He won the Olympic test event last summer at Hyde Park, and went on to wining the Pan American Games. During the World Cup season, Weinberger collected a silver in Argentina, and bronze in Brazil. He is looking at continuing his success in Portugal.

Desharnais, has been achieving great progress internationally over the past years, will be competing for that Olympic berth.

(Swimming Canada Press Release)