The German distance freestyle duo of Florian Wellbrock and Sarah Köhler announced their engagement via Instagram today;
Both Köhler and Wellbrock raced for Germany at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Köhler swam to a 10th place finish in the 400 freestyle, 8th in the 800 freestyle, and 12th in the 4×200 freestyle. Wellbrock meanwhile raced only the 1500 freestyle, notching a 32nd place finish.
Two years later at the 2018 European Aquatic Championships, the pair won a silver medal together in the team 5km open water event. The duo, along with teammates Leonie Beck and Sören Meißner finished the event in 52:35.6; just 0.6 seconds behind the 52:35.0 Dutch performance from Esmee Vermeulen, Sharon van Rouwendaal, Pepijn Smits, and Ferry Weertman.
At those same games, Köhler also picked up a silver medal in the 1500 freestyle with a 15:57.85 behind Simona Quadrella’s gold medal swim of 15:51.61, and ahead of Ajna Késely’s 16:03.22 for third. She won her third medal in the women’s 4×200 freestyle relay, helping Germany to finish behind the British and the Russians to take the bronze medal.
Wellbrock also swam his way to 3 medals at the Games, getting 3rd in the 800 freestyle with a 7:45.60 behind Mykhailo Romanchuk (7:42.96) and Gregorio Paltrinieri (7:45.12). In the 1500, he outswam both Romanchuk (14:36.88) and Paltrinieri (7:45.60), to take the gold medal in a 14:36.15.
Following up on their 2018 performances, both Köhler and Wellbrock had their major international breakouts at the 2019 World Swimming Championships in Gwangju, South Korea. Köhler got her first LC World Championship gold medal in the team 5k open water team event when she helped Germany to win the event just 0.2 seconds over Italy and 0.3 seconds ahead of the United States. She went on to take silver in the 1500 freestyle with a 15:48.83 for a new German record.
Wellbrock’s breakout came in the form of 2 gold medals, one in the pool and one in open water. He opened the Games with a first-place finish n the 10km open water, beating out France’s Marc-Antoine Olivier who was second, and fellow German Rob Muffels who was third.
Months after Gwangju 2019, Köhler raced to her first-ever world record as she swam the fastest ever short course 1500 freestyle at the 2019 German Championships in Berlin. She beat Mireia Belmonte’s former mark of 15:19.71 with a 15:18.01.
The two are currently training in Germany and have qualified to represent Germany at the 2020 Olympic Games next summer; Köhler in the 800 and 1500 freestyles, and Wellbrock in the 800, 1500, and 10km open water.