Swimming World Cup: World Cup without medal threatens: Wellbrock in crisis mode?

Florian Wellbrock still has a chance.

Swimming World Cup: World Cup without medal threatens: Wellbrock in crisis mode?

Florian Wellbrock still has a chance. A chance to start the final phase of preparation for the Olympics with a positive feeling and the boost to your own ego that you wanted before the World Cup.

The title fights in Doha have so far been a sporting fiasco for Wellbrock. The best German swimmer in recent years is threatened with the first World Championships since 2017 without a medal. Wellbrock wants to prevent that from happening in the 1500 meter freestyle on the final weekend in Doha.

The 26-year-old has retired. He and his coach Bernd Berkhahn no longer wanted to speak publicly in the past few days. Away from the public, Wellbrock prepared for the preliminary run on the longest freestyle course this Saturday (from 8:37 a.m./CET). He trained almost exactly 24 hours before his swim-in on Friday, but Wellbrock is particularly puzzling in Doha.

"Surprisingly slow"

Having competed as a double world champion, he was unable to enter the fight for medals in the open water, neither over the Olympic ten nor over five kilometers. He then announced an attack on the pool. However, at least over 800 meters it didn't happen. As at the last World Cup in Fukuoka, Japan, Wellbrock was already over after the preliminary heat. Wellbrock described his time as “surprisingly slow,” which was around 8.5 seconds above his personal best on the track. After that it became quiet around him.

When asked about the open water Olympic champion, his Magdeburg teammate Lukas Märtens holds back. “I can’t get into his head,” said the 22-year-old. "Everyone knows that they can swim a little, but only they can know what's going on in their head. I don't want to judge."

In terms of sport, a World Cup without precious metal would be manageable for Wellbrock. The clear highlight of the season is the Olympic Games in Paris. If he is successful there, the World Championships will quickly be forgotten. The question is: What do the sporting setbacks do to the self-confidence of the top swimmer? How much confidence does he have in the path he has chosen when he sees that he cannot swim onto the podium even in title fights in which some strong competitors are not there? With good analysis, the World Cup can uncover problems in time to correct them before the Olympics.

After the unsuccessful open water race in the first week of the World Cup, Wellbrock announced that it would quickly put it aside and look forward. Only he knows how easy it would be for him after another disappointment in the pool. Wellbrock would have the chance to prevent such a situation if he had a successful preliminary run on Sunday (5.16 p.m./CET).