Florian Wellbrock, FINA's 2021 Male Open Water Swimmer of the Year

Florian Wellbrock, FINA’s 2021 Male Open Water Swimmer of the Year

It came with no surprise that the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games marathon swimming champion Florian Wellbrock was named by FINA as its Best Male Open Water Swimmer in 2021.

Wellbrock just crushed the field in the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim in the warm waters of Odaiba Marina Park at the Tokyo Olympics. He led from start to finish with only a slight mid-race purposeful lapse when he let Marc-Antoine Olivier and Kristóf Rasovszky alternatively and temporarily take the pack lead. On the final loop, Wellbrock just laid down the hammer and steadily pulled away from the most elite of marathon swimmers.

That was simply audacious,” observed Steven Munatones of Wellbrock’s gold medal performance. “Florian literally took off from the start and never looked back, he never doubted himself or his strategy. That kind of domination was so impressive, and unexpected. He dropped gold medalists like Ferry Weertman, Ous Mellouli and Gregorio Paltrinieri. He dropped world champions like Kristóf Rasovszky and Jordan Wilimovsky, and his training partner Rob Muffels.”

He pulled off a Mellouli Double with a bronze medal in the 1500m freestyle to combine with his gold medal in the 10 km marathon swim. Similarly, Paltrinieri also achieved a Mellouli Double with a silver in the 800m freestyle and a bronze in the 10 km event. But the namesake for the achievement, Ous Mellouli, only managed to take 20th place in the 29.3°C water (84.7°F).

Olympic 10K Marathon Swim Results:

  1. Gold: Florian Wellbrock (Germany, 23) 1:48:33.70
  2. Silver: Kristóf Rasovszky (Hungary, 24) 1:48:59.00
  3. Bronze: Gregorio Paltrinieri (Italy, 26) 1:49:01.10
  4. Matan Roditi (Israel, 22) 1:49:24.90
  5. Athanasios Kynigakis (Greece, 22) 1:49:29.20
  6. Marc-Antoine Olivier (France, 25) 1:50:23.00
  7. Ferry Weertman (Netherlands, 29) 1:51:30.80
  8. Michael McGlynn (South Africa, 21) 1:51:32.70
  9. Hau-Li Fan (Canada, 23) 1:51:37.00
  10. Jordan Wilimovsky (USA, 27) 1:51:40.20
  11. Rob Muffels (Germany, 26) 1:53:03.30
  12. Kai Graeme Edwards (Australia, 22) 1:53:04.00
  13. Taishin Minamide (Japan, 25) 1:53:07.50
  14. Mario Sanzullo (Italy, 28) 1:53:08.60
  15. David Farinango (Ecuador, 20) 1:53:09.80
  16. Phillip Seidler (Namibia, 23) 1:53:14.10
  17. Daniel Delgadillo (Mexico, 31) 1:53:14.40
  18. Alberto Martinez (Spain, 23) 1:53:16.50
  19. Kirill Abrosimov (Russian Olympic Committee, 29) 1:54:29.30
  20. Ous Mellouli (Tunisia, 37) 1:56:33.30
  21. Vitaliy Khudyakov (Kazakhstan, 26) 1:57:53.70
  22. William Yan Thorley (Hong Kong, 18) 1:58:33.40
  23. Tiago Campos (Portugal, 22) 1:59:42.00
  24.  Matej Kozubek (Czech Republic, 25) 2:01:52.10
  25. DNF Hector Thomas Cheal Pardoe (Great Britain, 20)
  26. DNF David Aubry (France, 24)
Courtesy of FINA

Wellbrock also won the FINA/CNSG Marathon Swim World Series 2021 Grand Finale was held in the UAE by splitting a 15:42.5 seconds in the last 1500m of the 10 km race.

FINA/CNSG Marathon Swim World Series Grand Finale Top 10 Results:

  1. Florian Wellbrock (Germany, 24) 1:48:09.40
  2. Domenico Acerenza (Italy, 26) 1:48:12.00
  3. Kristóf Rasovszky (Hungary, 24) 1:48:23.60
  4. Mario Sanzullo (Italy, 28) 1:48:24.50
  5. Pasquale Sanzullo (Italy, 23) 1:48:24.80
  6. Sacha Velly (France, 16) 1:48:26.10
  7. Andrea Manzi (Italy, 24) 1:48:29.60
  8. Niklas Frach (Germany, 23) 1:48:29.90
  9. Hector Thomas Cheal Pardoe (Great Britain, 20) 1:48:36.80
  10. Marcello Guidi (Italy, 24) 1:48:37.80
  11. Oliver Klemet (Germany, 19) 1:48:37.90
  12. Tobias Patrick Robinson (Great Britain, 25) 1:48:39.40
  13. Matteo Furlan (Italy, 32) 1:48:40.90
  14. Jules Wallart (France, 19) 1:48:41.90

Historically, FINA has awarded the following swimmers as its Male Open Water Swimmer of the Year:

2010: Valerio Cleri (Italy)
2011: Thomas Lurz (Germany)
2012: Oussama Mellouli (Tunisia)
2013: Thomas Lurz (Germany)
2014: Allan do Carmo (Brazil)
2015: Jordan Wilimovsky (USA)
2016: Ferry Weertman (Netherlands)
2017: Marc-Antoine Olivier (France)
2018: Ferry Weertman (Netherlands)
2019: Kristóf Rasovszky (Hungary)
2021: Florian Wellbrock (Germany)

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Steven Munatones