Swimming World Championships: Wellbrock returns to gold, Acerenza and Paltrinieri take 4th and 5th place


The 10km of the World Championships goes to the German, who shares the podium with compatriot Klemet, bronze behind Rasovszky: the three medalists with the Olympic passport, Azzurri scoffed

Florian Wellbrock confidently wins the 10 km world championship in Fukuoka, the blue twins remain below the podium. Domenico Acerenza and Gregorio Paltrinieri are in the most uncomfortable position after the 2022 silver-gold doubles in Budapest. Without medals, without an Olympic pass. The Germans managed the double this time, with the gold medalist from Tokyo in 1:50:40:3 and the bronze medalist Olivier Klemet 20:5 behind his partner: the Hungarian is 18:7 with silver Kristof Rasovszky in between, while Acerenza is wooden at 36.4 inches and Paltrinieri is fifth at 1’00.4. A minute down on Wellbrock that was hard to swallow but no drama after a generous, extreme race. The Olympian directs the operations from the start, Gregorio tries not to overdo it given his precarious form, he remains reserved but not too much with the Hungarian Rasovszky, who will come back determined from the middle of the race until he is confirmed as in the Olympic Games in the position of honor. At each buoy there is an initial regrouping effect, but it is the German (who breathes to the left) who swims long, relaxed, confidently like in his two best years between 2019 and 2021 for the world title in South Korea and the ones at the games of Tokyo. Acerenza pushed him and Greg soon got back into position, 5 inches behind the German.


On the third lap, Acerenza took the lead of the race and also watched over Frenchman Logan Fontaine. With the other German klemet, a pair game with close coverage is created. The group unrolls and tapers towards the front. At 7km Greg catches his breath at 17 inches. But it is the signal that whoever is not in the best of shape is struggling to keep up with the Germans. In the end, Acerenza tries to stay in the top three but that’s not enough even if he fights back. Greg is stoic about regaining positions and struggles to stay one step ahead of the beaten group, which he succeeds in doing. The arrival is bitter for the two Blues: a bestial performance for the two positions filled only with regret.

hard race

Acerenza, European Champion of the Olympic discipline, says: “It was a hallucinating race, the pace was high from the start and by the end I was exhausted. I tried and did my best, someone had to finish fourth and unfortunately it was my turn. It was known that winning the medal, which this time had the added value of three Olympic passes, was difficult. I didn’t want to fall behind, I tried to close the gap but it was impossible.” Even for Paltrinieri “it was very difficult, I was at my best but the three were very fast.” I didn’t have any at all, already in the fifth lap I was at the limit. Normally I have margins, this time I don’t: I had Mimmo in front but the first three were too fast.” didn’t go well, and in fact I never paid attention to setting the pace of the race because I knew it was going to be tough. I tried to stay calm, I needed the gear change that I didn’t have.” Then the outgoing world champion looks back: “I was mentally ready to do everything like in previous years, but since January I’ve stopped six times for different reasons , I lost 6-7 weeks of work, including the last one before Japan.” In any case, I threw myself in defense, for cover. It wasn’t enough to bring me to the final sprint, to fight for the podium and the pass.” However, after such a close race, the resigning king does not give up: “I will try again over 5 km, after the mononucleosis makes me no more fear.” When I’m fine, I know I can win it, awareness stays with me.”

The technician is proud of her

And together with Mimmo, he gets the right words from coach Antonelli: “The podium was very attractive, Gregorio was heroic, he was in an emergency situation and I liked the way he even fought for fifth place like he was going for it fight to get there.” First. He wanted to dominate the chasing pack while demonstrating exceptional spirit, loyalty and respect for his opponents. I loved it and I know how much it cost him, but what counts first is his health: he needs to be in good shape for races like this. Mimmo was also very good, he took part in races as a protagonist, but I saw that he wasn’t swimming like on the best days. The murky water bothered him, he often raised his head and you have to pay for that. In the last exchange of blows, he lacked the willingness to stay on the Germans’ feet. An honorable fourth place, too bad for the Olympic card. I’m proud of her.”

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