Sarah Wellbrock Opts Out of World Championships for the 2nd-Straight Year

Sarah (Koehler) Wellbrock, 28, revealed on Thursday that an ailing shoulder will keep her out of this summer’s World Championships.

In an Instagram post, the Madgeburg swimmer said “with a heavy heart” that she will not race during this year’s qualifying period, which runs from March 31 through April 23.

“My shoulders haven’t been as powerful as I’d hoped and desired they would be the last few months,” she explained in the post. “It’s an incredibly big set back but I’m trying to stay positive. Better times are coming. I wish all athletes success and only the best for upcoming competitions.”

This is the second-consecutive year in which Wellbrock won’t compete at the World Championships. Last year, she was focusing on her law studies while still eyeballing a spot at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

“It’s always difficult for a competitive athlete to do without, and even more so for an Olympic medalist like Sarah,” said German National Coach Bernd Berkhahn. “But it’s the only possible step at the moment, anything else wouldn’t make sense. I fully support the decision.”

Wellbrock was the Olympic bronze medalist in Tokyo in the 1500 free, and is a 2019 World Champion in the team open water event. She was the World Record holder in the 1500 free in short course meters from November 2019 until October 2022, when American Katie Ledecky broke her record.

She is one-half of a World Record-breaking distance freestyle couple in Madgeburg: in January 2022, she married Florian Wellbrock, who swam a world-leading 14:40 in the 1500 free (in long course) on Friday.

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2 months ago

Das sind schreckliche Neuigkeiten!
Sie ist so eine wunderbare Schwimmerin
und sie an der Seitenlinie zu sehen, ist traurig!
Such bad news!
She’s such a great swimmer
and to see her out, sitting on the sidelines, is terrible.

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Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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