Wellbrock holds off Rasovszky to win final leg

Olympic Champion Florian Wellbrock of Germany wins the final leg of the FINA/CNGS Marathon Swim World Series in Abu Dhabi on Thursday. — Supplied photo
Olympic Champion Florian Wellbrock of Germany wins the final leg of the FINA/CNGS Marathon Swim World Series in Abu Dhabi on Thursday. — Supplied photo

Abu Dhabi - Kristof Rasovszky clinches FINA/CNGS Marathon Swim World Series



By Team KT

Published: Thu 16 Dec 2021, 6:20 PM

Olympic Champion Florian Wellbrock of Germany was in total control of Thursday’s 10km event holding off the persistent challenges by Hungary’s Kristof Rasovszky as the two battled for supremacy of the final leg of the FINA/CNGS Marathon Swim World Series contested in Abu Dhabi.

Preferring to lead his races and swimming at a pace that keeps him away from other swimmers, Wellbrock avoids the contact and conflict that can slow down a swimmer. His final 1500m split was 15:42.5 seconds, a blistering final pace necessary to hold off a new challenge by Domenico Acerenza of Italy in the last lap of the race.

In a masterful performance that capped off a year of phenomenal accomplishments, Wellbrook not only had the ability to lead the entire race but displayed the powerful energy reserve that was necessary to keep Italian silver medalist Domenico Acerenza behind him at the finish touchpad. Wellbrock will earn $15,000 in prize money from the race in Abu Dhabi.

Wellbrock, the untouchable winner of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic 10km Marathon by more than 25 seconds, would finish 2.6 seconds ahead of the Italian, and 14.2 seconds ahead of Hungary’s Kristof Rasovszky. Rasovszky, the Olympic silver medalist in the 10km Marathon was Wellbock’s main challenger but fell behind the Italian challenger in the final lap to finish in third place.

Other than the taste of saltwater from a nearly two-hour campaign, Olympic silver medalist, Rasovszky will enjoy a different and more satisfying taste of victory as the winner of the FINA/CNGS Marathon Swim World Series. Rasovszky set the pace in the first 1000m leg arriving in 10:36.4 followed closely by Germany’s Florian Wellbrock, the Olympic gold medalist from Tokyo 2020.

But once Wellbrock took the lead, the entire race strategy was in the hands of the heralded German warrior. Rasovszky always had his eyes on the series finale title and hoped to be able to derail France’s Mark-Antoine Olivier who was leading in the series points coming into the Abu Dhabi finale.

A spectacular setting in Yas Bay for 69 men who would battle a blazing sun and each other for the race and the series titles in the grand finale of the Men’s FINA/CNGS Marathon Swim World Series 2021. The water temperature of Yas Bay was 24.6 measured two hours before the 8 am race.

A surprising twist in the event was the disqualification of France’s Mark-Antoine Olivier. The French swimmer received a Red Card for unsportsmanlike conduct 42:57 into the race. Olivier was the bronze medalist in the 2016 Olympic Games in the Marathon 10km and won two gold medals in open water swimming events at the 2017 FINA World Championships in Budapest.

RESULTS

10km:

1. Florian Wellbrock (Germany) 1:48.09.4

2. Domenico Acerenza (Italy) 1:48.12.0

3. Kristof Rasovszky (Hungary) 1:48.23.6

OVERALL RANKING:

1. Kristof Rasovszky (Hungary) 2550 points

2. Marc-Antoine Olivier (France) 2400 points

3. Niklas Frach(Germany) 1650 points

4. Matteo Furlan (Italy) 1,130 points

5. Axel Reymond (France) 1,120 points


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