Leonie Beck was shaking all over. In the stormy winds of Qatar, the model German open water swimmer explained her unsuccessful start at the World Championships, her voice cracking from the cold. “It was clear to me beforehand that it would be a very difficult race,” said the 26-year-old. "The water is cold. Cold water is not my thing."
20th place as defending champion - that's actually not the Bavarian's claim. Knowing that the Olympic ticket had already been secured in Japan six months ago, the anger about it was very limited.
“It was very important to me that I qualified in Fukuoka last year. I did a really good job of achieving that last year,” said Beck in the port of Doha. "Now it's 20th place. That's not bad. If it had been qualifying, it would be very, very bad. So: everything's good."
Unlike Beck, most of her competitors were still interested in taking part in the competition in Paris. The Olympic showdown in the Seine is the big highlight of the season. The ten-kilometer race on Saturday was correspondingly competitive. “Everyone wants to get the ticket somehow. It was a very tough race,” said Beck.
Beck and Spiwoks keep up for a long time
In the complicated qualification system, her national teammate Jeannette Spiwoks' 16th place was enough to secure second place in the quota for the German Swimming Association. It is still unclear whether the 25-year-old will be allowed to attend this event herself.
The Dutchwoman Sharon van Rouwendaal secured the World Cup victory in the final sprint after 1:57:26.8 hours. She was 19.2 seconds faster than Spiwoks and finished 45 seconds ahead of Beck. Silver went to María de Valdés from Spain, bronze went to Portugal's Angélica André.
Beck and Spiwoks had kept up with a large leading group for a long time. On the last lap they were left behind by the best of the day. The water temperatures of just over 20 degrees, plus the wavy sea and the ban on neoprene: “You lose a lot of energy,” said Beck. "I stopped on the last lap."
After the women, the men are challenged this Sunday. Like Beck, Florian Wellbrock will also be starting as defending champion over ten kilometers (8.30 a.m./CET). Oliver Klemet - bronze winner in 2023 - also has a chance of winning a medal.