Ana Marcela Cunha won the gold medal for Brazil in the women’s 10km swim and German Florian Wellbrock dominated the 10k men’s swim at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Athletes competed with lukewarm water conditions on Wednesday at Tokyo Bay for the 10km marathon swimming. As organizers feared the triathlon and open-water swimmers would not be able to compete properly on extremely hot water, the race was scheduled for 6:30am. Even so, it was 29C in the water.
Ana Marcela Cunha of Brazil swam in 1:59.30.8 in a thrilling finish. She beat the 2016 champion Sharon van Rouwendaal of the Netherlands by under a second. Van Rouwendaal decided to modify her usual tactics and keep near the back, staying well-hydrated worried of the warm water. This allowed her to save energy for the final moment, but not enough to beat the Brazilian swimmer.
Kareena Lee won Australia’s first medal in Olympic marathon swimming. She finished in a time of 1:59:32.5, barely 1 second after van Rouwendaal.
Twice in the pool of the Tokyo Aquatics Centre, Germany’s Florian Wellbrock held a significant lead with over 50 meters to go. This did not change in the open water as 26 men gathered at Odaiba Marine Park. Briefly, French Marc-Antoine Olivier led part of the race, but afterwards Wellbrock sped up and claimed his Olympic gold in the men marathon.
The German swimmer finished in 1:48:33.7. Silver went for Hungary’s Kristof Rasovszky and bronze for Italian Gregorio Paltrinieri, with 1:48:59.0 and 1:49:01.1 respectively. After the race, Wellbrock claimed the biggest obstacle was not the other 25 swimmers, but instead the extremely warm temperatures in Tokyo Bay at the open water event.
“The first 7km was really easy,” Wellbrock said. “The water wasn’t really warm, so then I keep up the pace, and the last leg was horrible. The temperature today was the biggest competitor. I beat it and I beat everything in this race.”
Wellbrock won the 2019 World Championship for Open Water swimming and also won the 1500m freestyle at the Tokyo Olympics.
More swimming results HERE
Image credit to Reuters