Florian Wellbrock
Men's 10km Marathon Swimming World Series winner Florian Wellbrock. Image Credit: Organiser

Abu Dhabi: Germany’s Florian Wellbrock kept the best for the last and powered his way to a thrilling win in the Fina/Hosa 10km Marathon Swimming World Series at the Corniche on Friday.

“The run for the last three kilometres was a little bit too fast, but the result turned out really good for me so I’m really happy,” said an elated Wellbrock, who crossed the line in 1:53.01 to register his second win of the season. “Overall the marathon was good, I went pretty slow for the first 5km so I saved a lot of energy and pushed for speed in the latter.” Wellbrock had previously won in Lake Balaton, Hungary.

Finishing in second spot was Italian Gregorio Paltrinieri, with Hungary’s Kristof Rasovszky third.

Wellbrock, who competes in 1,500m free and 10km marathon swimming, has now set sights on 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

“I’m eyeing to do well in both the events,” he said. “Today the water was quite flat and that made things easy, so I could imagine swimming in a pool. I’m happy, because being only my second race of the season, I won both,” added Wellbrock.

In the women’s action, Italian star Arianna Bridi pipped compatriot Rachele Bruni and overall winner Ana Marcela Cunha of Brazil to clinch the top honours.

“It was hard because I hate hot temperatures but the water was comparatively mild,” said a beaming Bruni. “I pushed harder in the last kilometre. Going slow at the beginning and gradually ramping up my speed was the plan and it worked out good. Personally, I like cold temperatures and although it is considerably hot outside, the water felt good as it wasn’t that hot. I thought it was a slower race at start but it turned out to be faster towards the end.”

Cunha, who finished the season at the top of the overall rankings with her third-place effort, accumulated 112 points in total. Bruni finished second with 84 points while Rio Olympic champion Sharon van Rouwendaal of Netherland, who had to settle for the sixth spot in Abu Dhabi, was third.