Lac St-Jean Welcomes The World

Lac St-Jean Welcomes The World

The Who’s Who of the elite competitive world will be in Quebec, Canada for the 2010 World Open Water Swimming Championships in the famed lac St-Jean. The course is a bit tricky, especially when tactically navigating in a large pack of great swimmers, but the water will be relatively warm and flat with 3,000 fans jammed pack cheering at the finish.

148 top athletes from France, Italy, Russia, USA, Canada, Australia, Great Britain, Germany, Spain, Mexico, Brazil, Czech Republic, Ukraine, Argentina, China, Croatia, Greece, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Ecuador, Slovakia, United Arab Emirates, Bulgaria, Israel, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, South Africa, Slovenia, Syria and Iran will compete in the 5K, 10K and 25K world championships races between July 15-23 in Roberval, north of Montreal.

Richard Weinberger of Canada, a newcomer on the world scene, gave an honest assessment of the sport, its training and top competition in a recent interview with Peace Arch News, “About a year and a half ago, my coach [Ron Jacks] saw that I was a good distance swimmer and suggested I give open water a try. I just fell in love with it right away. It’s not something that a lot of people can do, I think that’s one of the reasons I like it. The training for it is absolutely brutal, and a lot of people aren’t prepared to commit to that much work.”

When you’re just starting out, it’s so painful to work yourself up to [9-11K eleven times per week], but once you get accustomed to it, it’s a lot of fun.”

Richard qualified for the World Championships through his swim at the USA Swimming National Open Water Swimming Championships where he found himself in a classic six-wide final straightaway sprint to the finish, caught by The Athlete Village:

As Richard explained to Peace Arch News, “It can get pretty violent, for sure. Sometimes people push you, try to get you to drop back. It’s tough. It’s all about strategy… how easy to can go for eight kilometres, because the last two kilometres are just an all-out sprint. I’m perfectly capable of staying with the top group for most of the race – I can hold my own, but it’s that last 100 or 200 metres where I have trouble staying with the top-end guys. But I’m training really hard right now, really pushing it so I can get myself to that level.”

Video courtesy of The Athlete Village, filmed from the lead official’s boat.

Copyright © 2010 by Steven Munatones
Steven Munatones