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1/2/2013
Arena signs Olympic open water medallist Richard Weinberger

Tolentino, March 1st, 2013 - Arena, one of the world’s leading swimwear brands, is pleased to announce a new sponsorship agreement with Canadian open water swimmer, Richard Weinberger. The 22-year-old first burst on to the international scene in 2010, and won the bronze medal for the 10km open water marathon at the London Olympics.

Weinberger was born on 7th June, 1990, in Moose Jaw, Canada, and learned to swim at a family pool in a residential compound in Saudi Arabia, where his father was working at the time. After having moved around with his father’s employment, he eventually moved to Victoria, British Columbia to go to the University of Victoria, where he swims and trains with Ron Jacks at Pacific Coast Swimming. Weinberger started swimming competitively as a seven-year-old, focusing on long-distance freestyle (400m-1500m) in the pool, and started open water training and competing when he was inspired by watching a friend doing longer workouts at the University of Victoria.

Taking to open water competition from the outset, Weinberger demonstrated his versatility at the 2009 Canada Games on Prince Edward Island, where he won both the 800m freestyle in the pool and the 10km open water events. In 2010 he showed continuous progress as he competed in various FINA events, including the 10km Marathon World Cup in Santos (Brazil), the Grand Prix at Sumidero Canyon (Mexico), and the World Championship trials in Irvine. At the Open water Championships in Roberval, Canada, he finished 17th in the 5km event, and 13th in the 10km event, in both cases a mere 20s behind the winner. In August of 2010, he picked up his first international medal at the Pan Pacific Championships in Irvine, finishing third less than three seconds behind the winner.

At the 2011 World Championships in Shanghai, Weinberger finished 17th in both the 5km and 10km events, and followed up by winning the Olympic open water test event in Hyde Park, before snagging the 10km marathon gold medal at the Pan American Games in Guadalajara.

In 2012 Weinberger confirmed his permanent presence amongst the upper echelons of open water swimming by taking the Olympic 10km marathon bronze medal in an extremely tight finish just five seconds behind the winner and less than two seconds behind the silver medal. However, his qualification for London was touch and go until he performed a herculean feat in June’s qualifier in Setubal, Portugal, recovering from losing his goggles in the first 200m, and having to catch up from 49th place. In the subsequent laps, he improved to 23rd, 15th, eighth, fifth, and finally second, a quite remarkable comeback.

He ended 2012 by being named one of FINA’s top five open water swimmers of the year.

“We are extremely pleased to have snapped up Richard for the open water contingent of our Elite Team, which now includes all three medallists from the London Games,” said Luca Belogi, Arena's International Business Development Director. “Richard’s potential is unquestioned, as he has shown with his rapid rise through the ranks over the past three years, to be one of the world’s top open water swimmers in 2012.

“From the Arena perspective, it constitutes the next step in our Canadian strategy after appointing F3 Distribution as our exclusive distributor in 2011. Canada continues to be important for the development of our brand internationally, and the strength of its swimming culture was demonstrated in London with three medals, the same number as the host country. By investing in top athletes such as Richard, we hope not only to help him with his career, but also to demonstrate our commitment to Canadian swimming overall.”

GM of F3 Distribution, Pierre Vermette, added his own satisfaction with the new agreement: “Watching the Open Water races at the last Olympics captivated me. So much strategy is involved in such a race, and Richard demonstrated remarkable skill and talent, as well as an admirable maturity for his age, to have come out of the water with the bronze medal. He can still improve and be a major contender for gold for Canada in Rio in 2016. We are really proud to be associated with Richard Weinberger.''

“I am really proud to be a part of the Arena team,” said Richard Weinberger. “When swimsuits were changing and adapting to the new FINA regulations for Open Water swimming, it was Arena that led the way with the best full body suit. It was also Arena that was instrumental in letting me try the suit out as I was trying to qualify for the Olympics. Then I wore the suit in the pre-Olympic competition in London 2011. It was the best suit for Open Water that I had ever worn! In fact, to this date it is the only Open Water suit that I have worn. I am really looking forward to representing Arena as best I can, both in and out of the pool.”