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Florian Wellbrock Completely Dominates the 10 km Marathon Swim

With 69 men lined up on the starting pontoon in the 10 km marathon swim at the 203 World Aquatics Championships this morning in Fukuoka, Japan, the start was expected to be fast. The first turn buoy was located just 417 meters away from the start, so everyone who wanted to have some clear water had to start fast.

And so did Tokyo Olympic 10K Marathon Swim gold medalist Florian Wellbrock who took off right from the start gun – and never looked back.

In the slightly bumpy water of Hakata Bay, Wellbrock stuck to his race plan. He quickly set the pace and led for nearly the entire race. It was only in the second half, where Hungary’s Kristóf Rasovszky took a momentary lead. Wellbrock maintained the lead throughout the swim and dictated the pace until the lead pack shed everyone but four swimmers: Rasovszky, Oliver Klemet of Germany, Domenico Acerenza, and Nicholas Sloman of Australia. Gregorio Paltrinieri of Italy, considered a bonafide threat for the gold medal, was never really in a position to threaten for a medal, although he closed the gap towards the end of the race.

The 25-year-old Wellbrock completely dominated the race from start to finish – as he did at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. Except his dominance was even more impressive. On the last 1.6 km lap, Wellbrock turned on his jets and steadily distanced himself from the rest of the world’s fastest open water swimmers.

His training must be absolutely mind-boggling if he is able to race at this pace at this level, finishing in 1 hour 50 minutes 40.3 seconds.

It was a very clean race with no yellow cards or red cards called throughout the race. Announcer Colin Hill said the reason is “because the field was largely stretched out” – due to blistering pace set by Wellbrock.

At the end, Wellbrock finished an incredible 18.7 seconds ahead of Rasovszky with Klement, Acerenza, Paltrinieri, and the rest of the field far behind. No one was close – see below with less than 500 meters to go. It was a rarity when most races come down to one-stroke differences or photo finishes among the podium finishers.

Silver medalist Rasovszky said, “I know that I prepared really hard for this year. I made the Olympic qualification in the top three and today went really well. I never felt this comfortable in the water. It was one of my best races ever and no one could take me out of my comfort zone. I was always in the position I wanted to be and when I wanted to push a little bit more and go to the front because I felt I had more energy. I could push it and push it. Florian was a lot faster on the last lap than me but I expected that, so it was the same as the Olympics two years ago, but maybe I was a little bit closer than that.”

Canada’s Eric Hedlin finished 3 minutes 45.1 seconds behind Wellbrock, 27th in the 69-man field at Seaside Momochi Beach Park. “I felt like the race was all right, but I was probably fighting way too much the first two laps. I have a little bit of work to do, but me and my coach are definitely on the same page. It’s been a really good year and we’ve been moving forward after a bad race in January when I wasn’t really prepared. We’ve been playing catch-up since then and training is going the right way.”

His 20-year-old teammate Eric Brown started out well in 14th position in the main pack, but he feel back to 32nd in the race. “I started off well and was sticking with the pack well, but I kind of almost hit a wall of energy. It just hurts and it’s hard to push through and I fell off a little bit. I’ve got plenty of time to improve. It’s not quite what I wanted but it’s not bad.”

The top three finishers in the men’s and women’s 10K races at this year’s World Championships secured their qualifying spots in the 2024 Olympic Games 10K marathon swim. Germany is now the undisputed top power in the sport of open water swimming with Leonie Beck winning the women’s 10 km race and teammate Lea Boy finishing seventh yesterday, and Wellbrock and Klement finishing first and third, respectively, today.

Men’s 10 km Marathon Swim Results (Top finishers)

  1. Florian Wellbrock, Germany 1:50:40.30
  2. Kristóf Rasovszky, Hungary 1:50:59.00
  3. Oliver Klemet, Germany 1:51:00.80
  4. Domenico Acerenza, Italy 1:51:16.70
  5. Gregorio Paltrinieri, Italy 1:51:40.70
  6. Athanasios Kynigakis, Greece 1:51:42.10
  7. Nicholas Sloman, Australia 1:51:42.20
  8. Matan Roditi, Israel 1:51:43.80
  9. Logan Fontaine, France 1:52:41.70
  10. Hector Thomas Cheal Pardoe, Great Britain 1:53:04.20
  11. Paulo Strehlke Delgado, Mexico 1:53:04.40
  12. Sacha Velly, France 1:53:14.70
  13. Martin Straka, Czech Republic 1:53:16.20
  14. David Farinango, Ecuador 1:53:17.10
  15. Esteban Enderica Salgado, Ecuador 1:53:18.70
  16. David Betlehem, Hungary 1:53:30.90
  17. Jan Hercog, Austria 1:54:02.20
  18. Logan Vanhuys, Belgium 1:54:03.10
  19. Guillem Pujol, Spain 1:54:03.10
  20. Tiago Campos, Portugal 1:54:05.50
  21. Franco Ivo Cassini, Argentina 1:54:07.40
  22. Kaiki Furuhata, Japan 1:54:07.70
  23. Diogo Cardoso, Portugal 1:54:08.70
  24. Joaquin Moreno, Argentina 1:54:09.70
  25. Asterios Daldogiannis, Greece 1:54:10.30
  26. Christian Schreiber, Switzerland 1:54:11.50
  27. Eric Hedlin, Canada 1:54:25.40
  28. Eric Georges Brown, Canada 1:55:31.20
  29. Yonatan Ahdut, Israel 1:57:05.20
  30. Joey Tepper, USA 1:57:23.90
  31. Ondrej Zach, Czech Republic 1:57:36.70
  32. Cheng-Chi Cho, Taipei 1:59:19.70
  33. Jaehun Park, Korea 2:00:09.50
  34. Johndry Segovia, Venezuela 2:00:20.50
  35. Tianchen Lan, China 2:00:37.50
  36. Theo Druenne, Monaco 2:00:46.80
  37. Connor Buck, South Africa 2:01:34.70
  38. Adrian Gustavo Ywanaga Papi, Peru 2:02:36.00
  39. Lev Cherepanov, Kazakhstan 2:03:08.40
  40. Ziyang Zhang, China 2:03:46.20
  41. William Yan Thorley, Hong Kong 2:04:20.40
  42. Tomas Peciar, Slovakia 2:04:22.20
  43. Jeison Rojas, Costa Rica 2:04:33.10
  44. Afiah Fadian Prawira, Indonesia 2:04:41.70
  45. Joshua Ashley, South Africa 2:04:53.60
  46. Tanakrit Kittiya, Thailand 2:05:07.40
  47. Diego Vera, Venezuela 2:05:47.80
  48. Christian B Bayo, Puerto Rico 2:06:01.90

Wellbrock joined the following 10 km world and Olympic champions. The first 10 km world championship was held in 2001 along the same course:

  • 2022 Budapest: Gregorio Paltrinieri, Italy
  • 2020 Tokyo: Florian Wellbrock, Germany
  • 2019 Gwangyu: Florian Wellbrock, Germany
  • 2017 Budapest: Ferry Weertman, Netherlands
  • 2016 Rio de Janeiro: Ferry Weertman, Netherlands
  • 2015 Kazan: Jordan Wilimovsky, USA
  • 2013 Barcelona: Spyridon Gianniotis, Greece
  • 2012 London: Oussama Mellouli, Tunisia
  • 2011 Shanghai: Spyridon Gianniotis, Greece
  • 2009 Rome: Thomas Lurz, Germany
  • 2008 Beijing: Maarten van der Weijden, Netherlands
  • 2007 Melbourne: Vladimir Dyatchin, Russia
  • 2005 Montreal: Chip Peterson, USA
  • 2003 Barcelona: Vladimir Dyatchin, Russia
  • 2001 Fukuoka: Yevgeny Bezruchenko, Russia

Open water swimming continues Tuesday (Monday evening in USA time zones) with the women’s 5 km at 7:00 pm Monday EST), followed by the men’s 5 km at 9:00 pm Monday EST. The 4×1500 relay follows on Wednesday, while the 25 km race – that has been a part of the World Championships since 1991 – is no longer conducted at the world championships.

© 2023 Daily News of Open Water Swimming

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