Berlin – Florian Wellbrock almost got the silver medal. Not because the Olympic swimming champion did not live up to his role as a favorite at the short course World Cup in Berlin. But because his defeated opponent Kirill Martynytschjew accidentally snatched gold from the red pillow at the award ceremony. But the Russian recognized his mistake and put back the medal, which Wellbrock then hung around his neck, not without pride.
“I’m here to swim for medals internationally,” said the 24-year-old, “and of course the gold medal feels better than fourth place.” The day before, the 2019 double world champion had 400 on his branch Meter freestyle posted fourth. In the 1500 meter race, 19-year-old Martynytschjew gave him a tough duel for a long time, but in the end Wellbrock easily distanced the European junior champion by two seconds. His winning time of 14: 35.23 minutes was seven seconds above his personal best on the 25-meter track, but Wellbrock was absolutely fine with that after three weeks of training: “It was harder than expected, but also faster than expected.”
Nonetheless, Wellbrock will have to improve if he wants to win at the European Short Track European Championships in Kazan (November 2nd to 7th) and the World Championships in Abu Dhabi (December 16th to 21st). Technically, he currently feels right at home in the water, but the pace is not there after three weeks of training. Wellbrock will also start at the second World Cup station in Budapest (October 7th to 9th).
Backswimmer Christian Diener clinched his second victory in the second final in Berlin. The Potsdam-based man, who had disappointed at the Olympics with the run-out, also triumphed over the 50 meters after the 200. Wellbrock was one of seven current and two previous Olympic champions who competed in the swimming and diving hall in the Europa Sport Park (SSE). In total, more than 300 athletes from 32 nations battled for top times and placements. The world association Fina is distributing a total of 1.452 million US dollars in prize money at the World Cup.