Florian Wellbrock wins gold in freestyle

EFirst the thumbs up, then there was a warm hug with permanent competitor Gregorio Paltrinieri: Swimmer Florian Wellbrock won the European title on the short course for the first time with a strong and confident performance. The open water Olympic champion prevailed on Thursday at the continental championship in Kazan over 1500 meters freestyle ahead of the Italian and his teammate Sven Schwarz, who surprisingly won bronze.

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“It was a really good race. The first medal on the short track and then gold, that’s really cool, ”said Wellbrock. 14: 09.88 minutes mean the German record, and it is not far to Paltrinieri’s world record (14: 08.06). This time was definitely possible for the 24-year-old. “That annoys me a little that I didn’t grab it,” said Wellbrock.

The race turned into the expected duel between Paltrinieri and the German. After just 100 meters, the two had separated in the turning carousel. Wellbrock was mostly an arm’s length ahead of the Italian, who from halfway through the race could not gain any more after a gap of 0.51 seconds. Especially when Wellbrock increased the pace again after 1000 meters, the preliminary decision had been made. “But actually after 500 meters I knew that I had things under control. Especially at the turns I was clearly better, and that’s why Gregorio couldn’t really make it, ”said the world champion in the large pool.

Wellbrock had trained intensively last week, and after the 400-meter run at this European Championship, he noticed that he is fast and then did not register for the final in order to concentrate on the longer distances. “We wanted to secure the gold medal,” said the protégé of national coach Bernd Berkhahn, who is now also aiming for the 800 meter title.

Sven Schwarz was completely over the moon. “I just didn’t expect it, I think I just did my best here,” said the 19-year-old Hanoverian. “There are only five seconds to the silver medal,” said Schwarz, who increased his personal best by five seconds. He secured bronze with a strong final sprint.




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