Florian Wellbrock of Germany Dominates the Men’s Open Water 10k in Tokyo

TOKYO 2020 SUMMER OLYMPICS – OPEN WATER SWIMMING

  • August 4-5, 2021
  • Oadaiba Marine Park, Tokyo, Japan
  • SwimSwam Event Preview
  • Results
  • Race start times:
    • Women’s 10K, Wednesday @ 6:30AM (Tokyo time – 5:30PM on Tuesday US Eastern Time)
    • Men’s 10K, Thursday @ 6:30AM (Tokyo time – 5:30PM on Wednesday US Eastern Time

Less than a week after finishing 3rd in the pool during the men’s 1500 free, Florian Wellbrock won gold the men’s 10k Open Water race at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. He finished the race 25 seconds ahead of silver-medalist Kristof Rasovszky of Hungary for the top spot. Italy’s Gregorio Paltinieri finished third for the bronze medal.

Earlier in the Games, Wellbrock and Paltinieri swam the 800 and 1500-meter free, with Wellbrock earning bronze in the 1500 and Paltrinieri silver in the 800 in the pool. They came back for the open water race, ready to show off their endurance.

Wellbrock led for the entirety of the race. At the end of lap 5 of 7, he was only 3 seconds ahead of Rasovszky who was in second. In the final three kilometers, he increased his pace steadily until no other competitor could catch him, finishing in 1:48.33.7.

The race for second was much closer. Rasovszky and Paltrinieri battled it out in the final stretch for the silver medal. At the 9.5 km mark, Paltrinieri trailed the Hungarian by 9 seconds. He tried to catch him in the end, but he ultimately touched 2 seconds behind Rasovszky.

Rasovszky was the 2019 World champion in the men’s open water 5k and he finished 4th in the 10k. Wellbrock was the gold medalist in the 10k in Gwangju.

2016 Rio gold medalist Ferry Weertman of the Netherlands finished 7th in the race, right behind Frenchman Marc-Antoine Olivier who was third in Rio. Olivier finished second at the 2019 World Championships but missed the today podium by over a minute. Jordan Wilimovsky of the USA was third at Worlds but failed to finish in the top 8 in Tokyo, coming in 10th.

Ous Mellouli was also in today’s 10k open water race. The 2012 Olympic champion finished 20th. His attendance was uncertain in the days leading up to the Olympics due to a scandal between him, his mother, and the Tunisian Swimming Federation. He settled matters with the Federation a few days later and decided to compete in the race for his country.

Mellouli is the only swimmer to have won Olympic gold in both open water and pool swimming. He earned a bronze medal in the men’s 1500 the same year that he won the men’s 10k. Four years earlier, he won gold in the 1500 in Beijing.

MEN’S OPEN WATER 10K TOP 8:

  1. Florian Wellbrock (GER) – 1:48.33.7
  2. Kristof Rasovszky (HUN) – 1:48:59.0
  3. Gregorio Paltrinieri (ITA) – 1:49:01.1
  4. Matan Roditi (ISR) – 1:49:24.9
  5. Athanasios Kynigakis (GRE) – 1:49:29.2
  6. Marc-Antoine Olivier (FRA) – 1:50:23.0
  7. Ferry Weertman (NED) – 1:51.30.8
  8. Michael McGlynn (RSA) – 1:51:32.7

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Joel
1 month ago

Wellbrock has an incredible stroke – so smooth and slow. A pleasure to watch.

Joel Lin
Reply to  Joel
1 month ago

He is so smooth, so perfect. He also joins a very short list of Olympians to medal both in the pool & in the open water at the same Games. Well done.

John
Reply to  Joel Lin
1 month ago

To me, that’s the most impressive double in swimming currently!

1001pools
Reply to  Joel
1 month ago

He should be the role model for all future swimming technique videos. I was glued to the screen watching this race, trying to soak in the beauty of his stroke to see if I can imprint it on my mind. In addition to the gorgeous swim style, I loved that he just went out and controlled this from the start.

Equally impressive in results/performance was Paltrinieri. I figured after the mono and his 1500, he wouldn’t be a factor. Huge props to him.

Shout out to Hau-Li Fan for moving up in the world ranks to #9 here and giving a shot in the arm to Canadian distance swimming.

Lex Soft
Reply to  1001pools
1 month ago

I like watching Wellbrock and Mykhailo Romanchuk race in adjacent lanes, as they display low stroke rate which is enjoyable to see.

Lex Soft
Reply to  Joel
1 month ago

Not slow. It’s a low stroke rate that results in better DPS (distance per stroke).
We have seen Mykhailo Romanchuk, Sun Yang, Oussama Mellouli, Grant Hackett, Ian Thorpe and Mack Horton used that kind of stroke too.
In contrast, Paltrinieri, David Davies, Kierin Perkins and legendary Vladimir Salnikov used high stroke rate which is not efficient for me, although worked for them.

Dudeman
1 month ago

Paltrinieri got silver in the 800m not a bronze

Joel Lin
Reply to  Dudeman
1 month ago

Paltrinieri also joins the very short list of Olympians who won a medal in the pool & in the open water in the same Games.

Also in this race competing in his sixth consecutive Olympic Games (Sydney, Athens, Beijing, London, Rio, Tokyo) who was the first to medal in the pool & in open water in the same Games, Ous Mellouli.

What an epic race.

Sun Yangs Hammer
1 month ago

Bobby Finke still closes the 10k in a 21

John
Reply to  Sun Yangs Hammer
1 month ago

* against the current with a double hand touch at the board.

fred lewis
Reply to  Sun Yangs Hammer
1 month ago

Bobby Finke was at the ISCA 14 and Under National Championships, yesterday. He signed autographs and took pictures with the swimmers and parents for 4 1/2 hours. His only break was to count for the Girls 11 & 12 800 Free. Now that’s a Champion.

AnEn
Reply to  Sun Yangs Hammer
1 month ago

I don’t have a doubt that he would have won this race as well if he would have been qualified. This guy went 2 seconds faster in the last 100 m of the 800 than Wellbrock/Paltrinieri/Romanchuk, the guys who dominated distance swimming the whole olympiad. Finke’s performances in Tokyo were as “remarkable” as those of Ye Shiwen at the 2012 olympics.

Justhereforfun
Reply to  AnEn
1 month ago

You’re definitely one of those people that say Dressel can win the 400IM in the olympics if he wanted to… There is a reason why we typically don’t see the same competitors in the 1500 and the 10k except for a select few, because those 2 events are just different on many levels. I’m not saying Finke doesn’t have a chance at all, he’ll probably be pretty good at 10k, but just because he won the 800 and 1500 doesn’t mean he will win the 10k “without a doubt”

Open water enjoyer
1 month ago

Wasn’t able to watch the race – anyone have a link? Thanks!

Condors Fan
Reply to  Open water enjoyer
1 month ago

Try ZDF website, it has both men’s and women’s 10km full race videos together with victory ceremonies

DLswim
1 month ago

Wellbrock’s pace at the end was so intense that it destroyed the pack. Incredible time too, averages to 1:04.8 per 100 m (assuming distances are correctly measured, of course). I think he negative split the race, because at the half-way point he was at a 1:05.6 pace (or something like that, but it was over 1:05). Usually these races are tightly bunched until the end.

CHMI
1 month ago

Well deserved win after pretty much leading from start to finish

Swum
1 month ago

I wonder how fast Paltrinieri could have been if he didn’t had a mononucleosis a few weeks before.

Bobo Gigi
1 month ago

Congrats to Wellbrock. He controlled the race from the start to finish.
Disappointing MAO for France. The gold was his goal. No Lucas’ magic here for once.
No open water medal for France like for USA.

1001pools
Reply to  Bobo Gigi
1 month ago

Wonder if his decision to skip some feeding stops in that heat played a factor in his result. He was in the mix for awhile.

PhillyMark
Reply to  1001pools
1 month ago

Seemed like Wilomovsky didn’t take many stops either and he fell off the pace as well

DCSwim
Reply to  PhillyMark
1 month ago

That’s what the ladies did too, didn’t seem to pay off for them either :/