Florian Wellbrock won the gold medal in open water swimming at the World Championships in Japan. The 25-year-old won the ten-kilometer race in Fukuoka on Sunday and thus celebrated his fifth title at the World Swimming Championships. With his triumph, Wellbrock made the dream opening weekend perfect for the German open water team. Leonie Beck also won gold in the women’s competition on Saturday. 21-year-old Oliver Klemet also won bronze behind Kristof Rasovszky of Hungary.
Their successes have already qualified Wellbrock, Beck and Klemet for the Olympic Games next year. Both the 26-year-old and Wellbrock had given the Paris ticket as a major goal before the start of the World Cup.
Beck, Klemet and Wellbrock, who was born in Bremen and trains in Magdeburg with national long-distance coach Bernd Berkhahn, can now tackle the coming year much more freely and self-determinedly. At the unfavorably scheduled World Championships in February in Qatar, where further Olympic starting places are awarded, they now do not have to appear in top form. You could even skip the World Cup.
Wellbrock was not impressed by the warm water with an official temperature of 25.9 degrees in the sea in front of the Momochi Seaside Park on Sunday, nor by the great heat in strong sunshine. As with his open water Olympic victory in Tokyo in 2021, he put up with the difficult conditions very well.
With his impressive success in the first competition, the frequent starter Wellbrock got more self-confidence for the upcoming races in Fukuoka. A result similar to that in Budapest 2022, when he won five medals in five competitions, seems possible again.
Wellbrock is also one of the top favorites over five kilometers in the open water on Tuesday. There he starts as the defending champion. Wellbrock left open whether he would then compete in the season. In the second week of the World Cup, he also wants to attack indoors over 800 and 1500 meters freestyle. So far this year, no one has been faster than Wellbrock on the longest pool distance. Over 800 meters he is Vice World Champion.
For Klemet it is the first major international individual success of his career. The youngster swam in the leading group right from the start and showed his enormous talent in the final phase of the race. At the World Championships in Hungary last summer, he won gold with Wellbrock, Beck and Lea Boy in the open water relay. Thanks to his podium finish, he can now look forward to his first Olympic Games.