ROME (AFP) – Florian Willbrook spoke on a sunny balcony in Foro Italico about the end of his EM period.
“It’s really important now to focus on next season and lay a good foundation instead of risking anything in the open water now,” said the Olympic champion between the swimming court, tennis courts and diving board. The consequences of contracting coronavirus in July, extreme weather conditions and mild cold, led Willbrook to decide not to go for medal hunting at sea off Lido di Ostia.
“Now physical and mental health comes first,” stressed the 24-year-old. Already this Thursday he travels back home from Rome.
Basic training instead of vacation
Wellbrock is not an option for top swimmers to lift their feet or relax on a trip. “I’m not on vacation yet,” he said. “I have no problem training a little more at home now.” At least in the abstract version. He doesn’t come to rest after that either. On September 1, Wellbrock began basic training at the German Armed Forces’ Sports Promotion Group.
The fact that the European Championships did not go as planned hardly bothered him, at least from the outside. Of course he would have liked to stand up to his comrades Michaglo Romanchuk (Ukraine) and Gregorio Paltrinieri (Italy) for the 1500m freestyle in the battle for gold. After five medals in five World Championship games in June, Willbrook knows exactly what he can do when he’s at his best. He performed at the height of the season, so you could take a European Championship without medals and fifth on the way to his show.
Focus on the new season
Wellbrock is already looking forward to next season. “We have a world championship coming up. Not far from the Olympics. I think you can adapt if you finish a European championship prematurely,” he said. His coach Bernd Berkhan sees it the same way. “He did what he could in the World Cup. That was really cool,” said the long-distance national team coach. “Now he has to see that he is on his own two feet.”
The program until the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris is tight. Postponements related to the coronavirus continue to affect the competition calendar. There are still two major world championships in the program ahead of the Olympics. Wellbrock will also be interested in the World Short Course Championships in December in Melbourne. “Australia has always been my dream,” he said with a smile. He won’t be bored after the European Championship either.
© dpa-infocom, dpa: 220817-99-415167 / 3
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