Florian Wellbrock wipes another white spot in his success story. He prevailed in his first World Championship race over five kilometers.

Relaxed and proud as never before during the World Cup days in Budapest, World Champion Florian Wellbrock took time for a selfie on the podium.

The winner of now four medals at the Hungarian World Championships posed happily with Gregorio Paltrinieri and Mychajlo Romantschuk – the other precious metal swimmers over five kilometers in open water. The three buddies had hugged each other beforehand. “The first individual gold is something special because you achieved it 100 percent on your own,” said Wellbrock the day after the season title.

At 26.7 degrees in the very warm Lupa Lake on the outskirts of Budapest, the man from Magdeburg felt comfortable right from the start. “Those are my conditions, I noticed that something was going on,” said Wellbrock. Coach Bernd Berkhahn emphasized that the tactic worked 100 percent. “Mischa should speed up the first few meters, Florian should swim up to him and Gregorio from his unfavorable starting position and then pressure should be applied. I’ve never seen that in five kilometers that it was an elimination swim, “the coach praised.

special moment

Wellbrock was not only happy about his victory, but also about the successes of the other medal winners. “Mischa” Romantschuk’s bronze provided a special emotional moment. The Ukrainian, who is training with Wellbrock in Magdeburg because of the war in his home country, was enthusiastically celebrated by his mother, sister and other family members from Ukraine. “To be honest, there were exactly the people with me on the podium that I wanted there,” said Wellbrock, who only missed his wife Sarah at the lake. “She has to watch our dog,” he said, laughing.

Three medals, including two gold ones, within 38 hours – you can’t get much more than that. “If he had swum the 1500 meters in the pool so bravely and so relaxed, things could have gone differently there,” said Berkhahn and said that they also work psychologically with Wellbrock. “If you get him in the right mood before the race, a lot is possible.” Wellbrock won bronze in the longest pool distance and silver in the 800-meter freestyle.

Ten kilometers now

Berkhahn and his protégé also see good chances for the ten kilometers on Wednesday. “As the defending champion and Olympic champion, you should be one of the favorites,” said Wellbrock, whose preparation for the World Cup was somewhat disrupted. “I had to have my wisdom teeth pulled and wasn’t allowed to train for ten days. Of course, that’s not ideal before a world championship,” said the 24-year-old.

There was no sign of a lack of fitness in the open water. Wellbrock can define this discipline for years to come. «Open water swimming is a pure endurance sport. I think we will experience many more championships. Assuming Flo wants that too,” Berkhahn announced a few more Wellbrock medals for the future.