Wellbrock stuns the champions, Bridi clinches the women’s title
Germany’s Florian Wellbrock claimed a surprise win in Gravelines at the second leg of the LEN European Open Water Cup, which welcomed the largest ever field in both genders’ races. In the women’s competition, Italy’s Ariana Bridi came first among the European swimmers.
While global events usually see 60-70 open water swimmers per event as a maximum, a mammoth field lined up for the start at the second leg of the LEN European Open Water Cup in Gravelines (FRA). Not less than 116 male swimmers started the 10km race which produced a thrilling battle as a handful of world-beaters were also part of the show.
But none of them were good enough to catch Germany’s Florian Wellbrock who managed to break away in the finish and touched in with a 12sec advantage, ahead of Netherlands’ Ferry Weertman who is the reigning Olympic and World champion in 10km. The Dutch great was declared runner-up after an official review as he clocked equal time with another German Rob Muffels.
France’s world champs from 2017, Marc-Antoine Olivier (5km) and Axel Reymond (25km) finished 7th and 8th respectively while their young hopeful Logan Fontaine came fourth, as a kind of demonstration how strong this competition was.
The women’s race, featuring 92 athletes, brought the same excitement. In fact, here the Europeans couldn’t even catch up with the swimmers from the Americas, the first three crossing the finish line were world champions from the USA and Brazil respectively, Haley Anderson, Ana Marcela Cunha and Ashley Twichell.
Their efforts are not considered in the LEN Cup rankings, so the title officially landed in Italy’s Ariana Bridi’s hands who was just 0.4sec shy of Twitchell (winner of last year’s 5km world title). The minor spoils went to a couple of talented youngsters, Portugal’s Angelica Andre and Netherlands’ Esmee Vermeulen who managed to out-touch Olympic champion compatriot Sharon van Rouwendaal.
LEN European Open Water Cup, Leg 2, Gravelines (FRA)
- Florian Wellbrock (GER) 1:44:15.00
- Ferry Weertman (NED) 1:44:27.97
- Rob Muffels (GER) 1:44:27.97
- Arianna Bridi (ITA) 1:55:34.68
- Angelica Andre (POR) 1:55:35.45
- Esmee Vermeulen (NED) 1:55:43.62
LEN Open Water Cup – 2018
Leg 1, 25 March – Eilat (ISR)
Leg 2, 31 May – Gravelines (FRA)
Leg 3, 30 June – Barcelona (ESP)
Leg 4, 28 July – Navia (ESP)
Leg 5, 25 August – Copenhagen (DEN)
Leg 6, 9 September – Bled (SLO)