Florian Wellbrock Becomes 1st to Win 10K/1500 Gold at Major International Meet


Germany’s Florian Wellbrock became the first swimmer in history to win both the 10K open water event and 1500m free at a a major international meet on the final night of the 2019 FINA World Championships in Gwangju, South Korea.

Heading into this meet, Italian Gregorio Paltrinieri was largely considered a favorite to complete this feat, and secure his third-straight Worlds 1500 win. He had posted the fasted time in the world this season in the 1500 by four seconds (14:38.34, in April), and had been finding success in the open water field. However, he finished sixth in the 10K earlier in the meet after leading for much of the race.

Wellbrock was the No. 2 swimmer in the world this season in the 1500 at 14:42.91 this season and surged to a photo finish in the 10K, out-touching France’s Marc-Antoine Olivier by two tenths of a second.

In Sunday’s race, Wellbrock, Paltrinieri, and Ukranian Mykhailo Romanchuk went stroke-for-stroke the entire way, pulling away fro the field, before Wellbrock was able to shift gears and separate himself from the other two swimmers in the final 100 meters.

He touched first in 14:36.54. Romanchuck, the 2017 Worlds silver medalist as well, was second in 14:36.54, and Paltrinieri was third in 14:38.75. The rest of the field was at least six seconds behind.

No man has accomplished this feat at the Olympic or Worlds level (of course, women will not have the Olympic chance until 2020). Tunisian Ous Mellouli has come closest to doubling-up, winning the 10K in London in 2012 but taking bronze in the 1500 – he was the first to ever medal in both disciplines at the Olympics.

Wellbrock raced the 800 last Tuesday, missing finals by a wide margin. He finished 17th in prelims in 7:53.75.

In This Story

Leave a Reply

Notify of

oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
3 years ago

One of the most exciting 1500 races I have seen.

tea rex
3 years ago

Ous Mellouli won the 1500 in ’08, and the 10k in ’12. I get the gist of this though.

3 years ago

What about Ous Mellouli? I know he won both, just not sure if it was at the same competition

tea rex
Reply to  Torrey Hart
3 years ago

Ous has Olympic gold in both races – just not from the same meet.

3 years ago

I wonder what happened to him in the 800, couldn’t recover from 10k on time?

Andy Dwyer
Reply to  Swimmer
3 years ago

From what I learned from the german media, Wellbrock did not get along with the pressure. Seems like a mental thing.

About Torrey Hart

Torrey Hart

Torrey is from Oakland, CA, and majored in media studies and American studies at Claremont McKenna College, where she swam distance freestyle for the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps team. Outside of SwimSwam, she has bylines at Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, SB Nation, and The Student Life newspaper.

Read More »