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    German swimming stars sink into the cold and waves at the World Cup


    Wellbrock disappoints in Qatar
    German swimming stars sink into the cold and waves at the World Cup

    Florian Wellbrock and Leonie Beck also lost their second world titles. There is disappointment among the open water specialists. They struggle with the cold, with the waves and with their shape.

    Wrapped in a towel and visibly at a loss, Florian Wellbrock looked for explanations for his next unsuccessful World Championship race. The open water Olympic champion discussed his disappointing ninth place over five kilometers with national coach Bernd Berkhahn in front of the large results screen in the port of Doha.

    “It was better than the ten kilometers, but still not good – so not what we had planned for today,” said the 26-year-old. “I'm not satisfied at this point,” he added, and that sounded like an understatement. The exceptional swimmer jumped into the sea twice as defending champion in Qatar. Twice he emerged badly beaten.

    Because teammate Oliver Klemet in eighth place and around two and a half hours earlier Leonie Beck (14th) and Jeannette Spiwoks (16th) did not win any medals, one thing is certain: for the first time since 2017, the German open water swimmers will end a world championship without an individual medal. At that time, the team from the German Swimming Association (DSV) even remained completely without a podium place. On Thursday (8.30/CET) The season has the chance to at least prevent that this time.

    Wellbrock loses strength in the crucial meters

    Wellbrock, who spoke of Germany as an “open water nation” at the last World Championships when he and Beck won double gold, has planned his World Championships without a relay start. “The cold water and the wavy conditions don't suit me as well as the others,” he said after his second World Cup appearance. Things actually looked better for him there for a long time than when he collapsed and finished 29th two days earlier over twice the distance.

    Wellbrock set an enormous pace in the first lap when the water temperature was less than 20 degrees and thus evened out the field of participants. Even after that, the Bremen native remained at the front in front of his parents who had arrived and seemed to have the event under control for a long time. When the best guys increased the pace in the final phase of the race, Wellbrock couldn't do anything anymore. With his time of 51:36.7 minutes, he finished 7.4 seconds behind winner Logan Fontaine from France.

    It should now rain medals in the pool

    Despite all the disappointment, Wellbrock placed the competition in relation to the season's highlight in the summer. “It’s obviously a bit annoying now,” he said. “But in the end it's just a world championship in the Olympic year. The overall goal is a little different. That's why we just have to put a stop to it and move forward.”

    With a view to the Summer Games, he said: “I don't have any waves on the Seine in Paris. That's quite good.” He wants to prepare for the cool water temperatures expected in the French capital with special training in the coming months.

    Before that, Wellbrock also has a lot planned for Doha. In the second week of the World Championships, he is one of the medal candidates in the 800 and 1500 meter freestyle in the pool. Despite the botched start to the World Cup, he remains confident in this regard. “Now it's time to regenerate well, stay healthy and then we attack in the pool,” he said.

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