Wellbrock dominates to claim Olympic gold in men’s open water marathon swim

The men’s open water 10k race on Wednesday was dominated by one swimmer, world champion Florian Wellbrock. The German swimmer led from the very start, making an early break in the first minutes of the race. Only two swimmers were able to keep with him for the majority of the race, Rio bronze medalist Marc-Antoine Olivier of France and Hungary’s Kristof Rasovszky. After the second feed, the chase pack was led by Gregorio Paltrinieri of Italy in what became a thrilling battle for silver and bronze as the Italian tried to close the gap between the lead three swimmers. After the fourth feed Paltrinieri had closed that gap to eight seconds, but Wellbrock was still going strong and, in a masterclass of tactics, started to up the pace.

In the 30-degree water hydration was key, and tactics at the feed station became fascinating viewing. Wellbrock fed on every lap but other swimmers chose not to feed to try and gain on him; in particular, Olivier missed feeds, potentially leaving him depleted for the final stages of the race.

With 2k to go Paltrinieri had caught the lead pack but Wellbrock continued to push the pace, his smooth and relaxed stroke a contrast to the more scrappy strokes of his rivals. As the swimmers came into the final turn of the last lap there was no hope of Wellbrock being caught and it became a battle for the remaining medals. Wellbrock finished in 1:48.33.7, an incredible 25 seconds ahead of Rasovszky who claimed silver. Paltrinieri, who had managed to break away from the chasing pack to close that gap, took bronze. Team GB’s Hector Pardoe unfortunately did not finish after being elbowed in the face.

Full results:…

Stay up to date with The Dip, our free weekly outdoor swimming newsletter.

Outdoor Swimmer is the magazine for outdoor swimmers by outdoor swimmers. We write about fabulous wild swimming locations, amazing swim challenges, swim training advice and swimming gear reviews.