Courtesy of FINA, Yeosu EXPO Ocean Park, Gwangju, South Korea. Florian Wellbrock won the FINA World Championships 10 km marathon swim, but he was nearly always up near or in the lead during the race.
In contrast, Rob Muffels truly came from behind. At the second loop, The German found himself in 24th place well behind the leaders, posing no threat. Even by the midway point at 5 km, Muffels had only conservatively moved up to 20th place overall.
But there was no denying he in the second half of the race where he negative split by a wide margin despite the rough-and-tumble second half where 7 yellow cards were issued by Chief FINA Referee Bill Ford.
As silver medalist Marc-Antoine Olivier said, “People fight for an [Olympic] spot.” Muffels commented, “I am totally relieved with the results, there was a lot of pressure, but it’s off me now. Four years ago I missed the qualification for the Rio Olympic Games. I have been working for eight years as a professional swimmer, always with the goal of Olympic qualification. Florian and I worked together and today’s result is a world champion and bronze medallist for Germany, it’s amazing and it’s great for open water swimming in our country. We have a great team atmosphere in Germany and we know that the French do as well. Both countries have two big teams and a lot of great coaching and professional staff support. There are many similarities between our groups, with lots of high speed endurance and fast swimming training. We also have a rich history of open water swimming. Florian and I have learned a lot from Thomas Lurz and also from Angela Maurer, two legendary German open water swimmers and multiple times world champions. In the end, it’s about experience and hard work.” Men’s 10 km Olympic Qualification Race Results: