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DSV: Upward trend at the swimming world championships: positive conclusion with flaws

Status: 03.07.2022 2:06 p.m

For 16 days, athletes swam, played and jumped for World Championship medals in Budapest. From a German point of view, one swimmer particularly shaped the title fights.

The swimmers around the exceptional athlete Florian Wellbrock have submitted, the water jumpers only partially followed suit without Patrick Hausding.

At an atmospheric World Championships in Budapest, Wellbrock and his colleagues in the pool and open water continued their slight upward trend with nine medals and ensured the best overall German result in the two divisions since 2009. This time, however, there was no gold in the prestigious pool races. The jumpers were happy about an early bronze medal at the first World Championships after the retirement of record European champion Hausding. But the team also missed chances.

Five World Championship medals for Florian Wellbrock

From a German point of view, Wellbrock’s impressive five medals in five finals eclipsed the title fights and drew comparisons with the greats of German swimming. In the men’s category, only “Albatross” Michael Groß had collected as many medals at a World Championships 40 years ago; in the women’s category, Kristin Otto was the only athlete with six World Championships medals in 1986 that was even more successful for the GDR.

However, the World Championships also had a flaw for Wellbrock: the 24-year-old did not successfully defend his titles over 1500 meters freestyle and over the Olympic ten kilometers in open water. For him, the challenge with a view towards the 2024 Olympics is also: The most important races must not suffer from the many starts. National coach Bernd Berkhahn is confident and, with perfect preparation, even thinks five titles are possible. “I imagine it’s possible,” he said in Hungary.

In addition to Wellbrock, breast swimmer Anna Elendt with silver over 100 meters and Lukas Märtens with his second place over 400 meters freestyle used the title fights in front of enthusiastic fans in the Duna Arena to attract attention with medals. So are the German swimmers back on the way to the top of the world?

Wellbrock is skeptical: “I think we’re doing a very good job where we are,” he said on ZDF’s “Aktuelles Sportstudio”. But you have to differentiate: “If you really look at pool swimming, then a German medal was won by a German who trains in America and the rest went “only” to Magdeburg.” You have to look carefully where the medals come from. There is still a lot to do, especially on the short routes.

When Elendt, who was training in the USA, had already left Hungary and showed her skills at the German Championships in Berlin, the water jumpers at the World Championships were just getting started. Right on the first day, Lars Rüdiger and Timo Barthel celebrated third place in synchronized diving from the three-meter board.

This was followed by numerous and sometimes annoying fourth and fifth places in the sport, which was once again dominated by China. Also, because the strong Russian jumpers were not allowed to start because of Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine and were therefore eliminated as competitors, there could have been more. In addition, Moritz Wesemann’s positive corona tests clouded the mood.

The athletes and spectators at the outdoor pool on Margaret Island experienced a shock of a different kind. US synchronized swimmer Anita Alvarez passed out and sank immediately after her free solo freestyle. She had to be rescued by her trainer Andrea Fuentes and another person. She then did not compete at the World Cup, but supported her team from the edge of the pool.

The German synchronized swimmers Marlene Bojer and Michelle Zimmer were able to celebrate final places and notable successes. The newly formed water polo team of the German Swimming Association took 13th place. “We didn’t achieve the goals there,” said DSV competitive sports director Christian Hansmann, but also referred to the upheaval with numerous inexperienced players.

DSV draws a positive conclusion

Overall, Hansmann drew a positive conclusion. “It’s going in the right direction,” he said. By midday on Sunday, the German team had been more successful across all sports than it had been since 2013. However, not only Russia and Belarus were missing. Some top athletes from other nations also decided not to participate in the World Championships in the post-Olympic year.

The next highlight is already in a good five weeks. Then the EM begins. “There’s not much time left until the European Championships. If we can do it as successfully in Rome as we did in Budapest, then that would be a complete success to really round off the season,” said Wellbrock. The DSV then wants to compete with a much larger swimming team than in Hungary.

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