Florian Wellbrock won the 1500m freestyle World Cup race on Saturday in front of a full house in Berlin. In 14:25.41 minutes, the 25-year-old from Magdeburg left his training partner Mykhailo Romanchuk (UKR/14:26.69) and Sven Schwarz from Hanover (14:34.87) behind. Open water team world champion Oliver Klemet also finished seventh (14:49.57), leading to loud cheers for the representatives of the host team by the audience.
“It’s incredibly cool to have such a full hall here in Berlin. We haven’t had that for a long time. I think it’s a very good decision by FINA to do the World Cup with swimming and diving together, it works very well. I’m not a Berliner, but I’ll still call it home, it’s just so much fun to swim here,” said Wellbrock about the encouragement. In terms of sport, he is satisfied, his trainer Bernd Berkhahn would not have thought a time under 14:30 minutes possible again after only six weeks of training.
However, after his victory, Wellbrock announced that he would not participate in the Short Course World Championships in Melbourne (AUS/December 13-18). Last year he had won the title in world record time. “I would actually have liked to take part in the Short Course World Championships, because Australia is a destination that I would like to visit anyway and the people there are very fond of swimming. But we’re already in a pre-Olympic season again, so the Olympic qualification for Paris in the summer has priority for me, it’s just very important to me. And it is difficult for us long-distance swimmers to embark on such a long journey including time difference, jet lag, etc. Especially since I had a longer absence due to Covid at the end of last season, so the focus now has to be on the training.” The open water Olympic champion will be going to Spain for altitude training next week. Only the top three of the 2023 World Championships in Fukuoka qualify for Paris 2024, the remaining places will only be awarded at the following World Championships in February 2024.
Other top results for the German Swimming Federation were achieved by Marek Ulrich in fifth place (23.49 seconds) and Ole Braunschweig in eighth place (23.81) over 50m backstroke. In addition, Lucas Matzerath was eighth in the 50m breaststroke (26.87).
The winner in the back sprint was Dylan Carter (TTO) in 23.15 seconds, who surprisingly even defeated Italy’s new top star Thomas Ceccon (23.22). Already the second victory of the man from the Caribbean in Berlin, who had already shone over 50m freestyle. Carter was piloted to Berlin by his German swimming colleague Marius Kusch: “Marius is a very close friend of mine, we lived together in San Diego and trained together. He’s a great teammate for me here, showing me around and keeping me company. When you represent a small country you don’t have many teammates, so it’s good to have such good friends,” Carter said. “Marius told me beforehand that everyone loves to swim here and that the pool is very fast is. So far I can see that both are true.”
Chad le Clos 2.0 continues the record story
Despite two victories, Carter is not the top favorite on Sunday to win the Berlin World Cup meeting, which is worth $12,000. Last year’s winner Matthew Sates (RSA) also showed another class performance over 200m IM (1:51.64) and is leading after two out of three days. World champion Nic Fink (USA) over 50m breaststroke (25.86 seconds) and Chad le Clos (RSA) over 200m butterfly (1:49.62 minutes) added more victories with top times on Saturday. “I’ve changed my mindset, I’m Chad le Clos 2.0,” said the 30-year-old after improving his World Cup win record to 148. Kyle Chalmers (AUS) also still has good chances after his win in the 100m freestyle in 45.88 seconds.