The final over 1500 meters freestyle at the swimming world championships is eagerly awaited. Florian Wellbrock wants to successfully defend the title, at least Lukas Märtens should help him.

For Florian Wellbrock and his Magdeburg training group, the mission to win the World Cup is entering the very hot phase. After an easy victory in the preliminary heat, the defending champion goes into the 1500-meter final as one of the favourites, if not the top favorite.

At the end of the pool competitions at the swimming world championships in Budapest, there should be tears of joy in the German team. Unlike Wellbrock’s Magdeburg club colleague Isabel Gose, who cried with disappointment. Sixth place in the 800-meter freestyle was not what she had imagined. “If the chances of a medal are somehow within reach in every race, then of course you want that all the more in the last race. If that’s not enough, then of course you’re sad, »said Gose.

The Magdeburg training group

The common trainer Bernd Berkhahn now wishes all the more that Wellbrock defends his title. His German training colleague Lukas Märtens also thinks it’s great. The ambitions of the Ukrainian Mychajlo Romantschuk as the third Magdeburger in the league are likely to be different – he wants to win himself. All three made it to the final. Wellbrock in particular should deliver there in a duel with US star Bobby Finke.

The American had defeated the German over 800 meters and triumphed in both long distances in the pool at the Olympics in Tokyo. But Wellbrock gained a good deal of additional self-confidence with silver in the 800 meters at this World Championships. This could be seen in the heat, which he swam in great unity and evenly at the top together with his buddy Romantschuk, who is training in his home country in Germany because of the war.

He was also pleased that Märtens was also in the finals, which the silver medalist in the 400-meter freestyle had not managed to do over the 800-meter distance. “It was my big goal to show that I’m also capable of doing longer freestyle courses,” said Märtens. After all, he still holds the world best time of 14:40.28 minutes, which the greats of the 1500-meter scene did not come close to in the lead-up.

“No time for tactical games”

Three Magdeburg training partners in the final – what now? Similar to cycling, is there a captain that the others work for? Does one even sacrifice themselves for such a fast pace that Finke cannot use his almost limitless sprinting abilities after all?

No, says Wellbrock. Keeping the pace so high that you can beat Finke will probably be the tactic of all other seven finalists besides him, he expects. “In such a top-class field there is no time for tactical games,” emphasized the open water Olympic champion.

Yes, says Märtens. “Maybe I can help Florian a little,” he emphasized after the prelim. “We are now three from a training group and I think that Flo finally wants to beat the American. Maybe we can work together a little bit.” Märtens said openly and honestly: “If it’s not complete suicide that I’m starting like a savage, I would put my own ambitions on hold.”

“Anything is possible over 50 meters”

Märten’s girlfriend Gose didn’t hold back in the 800-meter final, but it still didn’t work out with the precious metal that she so desperately wanted. “It’s just missing that icing on the cake, which is why I work,” said the freestyle swimmer, who finished fifth in the 400 meters and eighth in the 200 meters. In her last race in Budapest, she had a good chance up to 500 meters, then the Italian Simona Quadarella picked up the pace in the fight for bronze, Gose was no longer able to follow.

After their sad World Cup end, the German anticipation for Saturday is great. In addition to the 1500-meter freestyle showdown, other finals with German participation are on the program. Anna Elendt over 50 meters breaststroke and Ole Braunschweig, who improved the German record over 50 meters backstroke to 24.58 on Friday morning, also qualified for the finals. “Anything is possible over 50 meters. It’s the little things that count,” said 100-meter breaststroke silver medalist Elendt.

The end of an exciting day was set by the Australian mixed relay in the 4×100 meter freestyle with a world record. In 3:19.39 minutes, she improved the previous record of a US team from the 2019 World Cup by two hundredths of a second.