May 5, 2008

Gaucho Volunteer Assistant Coach Qualifies for Olympic Games

May 5, 2008

SEVILLE, Spain - UC Santa Barbara volunteer assistant swim coach Mark Warkentin qualified for his first Olympics at the age of 28 on Sunday at the 5th FINA Open Water World Championships in the 10K open water race. The National Champion earned his spot at the Olympics after finishing 7th in a time of 1:53:37.1.

The top 10 finishers in the race automatically qualified for the Olympics where the 10K marathon swimming event will make its first appearance at the Olympic Games. Warkentin is the first swimmer to be named to the U.S. Olympic Team, with Olympic Trials for pool swimming being held June 29 - July 6.

"I have been in USA Swimming a long time and there have been a lot of failures along the way," Warkentin, who has competed in three Olympic Trials, said. "I have had a lot of coaches in America who believed in me. Back home, they are going to wake up in a few hours and they are going to see Mark Warkentin made the Olympics. All I have to say to them is, `The Olympics...and thank you.'"

Russia's Vladimir Dyatchin won the race in 1:53:21.0. Great Britain's David Davies took second in 1:53:21.3, while Germany's Thomas Lurz rounded out the top 3 in 1:53:27.2.

Warkentin will compete in the 25K race on the final day of competition, May 8th, alongside U.S teammate John Kenny (Atlantic City, N.J.). Warkentin is the reigning National Champion in this event.