World Championships: Bobby Finke Becomes First American Man To Win 800 Free World Crown; Wellbrock & Romanchuk On Podium

FINKE Bobby USA Gold Medal, WELLBROCK Florian GER Silver Medal, ROMANCHUK Mykhailo UKR Bronze Medal 800m Freestyle Men Swimming FINA 19th World Championships Budapest 2022 Budapest, Duna Arena 21/06/22 Photo Andrea Staccioli / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto
Photo Courtesy: Andrea Staccioli / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

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Bobby Finke Becomes First American Man To Win 800 Free World Crown

Bobby Finke added the world crown to his Olympic title with a massive final 50 of 25.93 to become the first American man to win the 800 free.

Mykhailo Romanchuk led from 350 to 750 but Finke unleashed a huge finish to move from fourth to first and take gold in 7:39.36, a new American record and 2.51secs swifter than the time in which he won Tokyo gold.

Florian Wellbrock was second in 7:39.63 with training partner and long-time leader Romanchuk third in 7:40.05.

Finke’s final-50 split was quicker than Zhang Lin’s 25.99 en-route to the world record of 7:32.12 at the 2009 World Championships in the supersuit era.

It was swifter than any of the men in the 200 free final – including winner David Popovici’s 26.94 – and the 26.46 in which Duncan Scott came home to take 200 silver in Tokyo.

So too the 26.12 in which Michael Phelps finished at the 2008 Olympics and only 0.08 slower than Paul Biedermann’s last 50 when he set the 200 free world record 1:42.00 at the supersuited chaos that was the 2009 worlds.

Finke, who had felt the burden of pressure following his double Olympic gold, was asked about his tactical approach.

Did he know how far behind he could afford to be?

“I was peeking to see how far Romanchuk was the last 100 because he started picking it up a little bit and I knew if I was going to run someone down I had to at least know kind of where they were.

“I was just happy I was able to hold on to a little position I had, enough room to get b y them on the last 50.”

How does he conserve energy for that last lap?

“It’s just like the last 50 of the race, what are you going to do getting out of the pool? Do you want to be disappointed or be happy with what you did?

“I think it’s just really that kind of mentality going into the last finish.”

For Romanchuk, his bronze symbolised the strength of the Ukrainian people, four months after the invasion by Russia, saying:

“I hope this medal means a lot for Ukrainians because of the hard times and I show to all Ukrainians, to all people, that Ukrainians will fight to the end.

“It doesn’t matter what the situation we will fight to the end and it doesn’t matter what will happen next.”

Wellbrock said:

“It’s been a really interesting race, we were counting on the four racers who were up front. Gregorio tried his thing again but we knew that, counted on that.

“The Ukrainian guy tried to switch gears at 600m but we could catch him as well.

“It was an amazing event and Bobby managed to come back at the end, as he usually does, but I’m happy with the second place.”

It was a field stacked with quality. All the Tokyo medallists in the shape of Finke, Gregorio Paltrinieri and Romanchuk were present.

So too Gabriele Detti, who won gold at the 2017 worlds at the very same Duna Arena while Dan Wiffen destroyed the Irish record on Monday when he lowered it to 7:46.32 to secure lane two.

Wellbrock and Romanchuk occupied the centre lanes with both men going 7:44s in prelims with the rest of the field on 7:46 and Damien Joly on 7:47.

Guilherme Costa made the early running from lane one with Romanchuk moving to within 0.09 after 300.

The Ukrainian moved into the lead and was ahead of Paltrinieri and Finke at halfway, extending the deficit to more than two seconds with 200 to go.

Romanchuk led at 750 ahead of Wellbrock and Paltrinieri and crucially with a 1.11second lead over Finke in fourth.

It was though not sufficient, the American unleashing 25.93 to come past the field and take the world crown.


  1. Bobby Finke (USA); 7:39.36
  2. Florian Wellbrock (GER); 7:39.63
  3. Mykhailo Romanchuk (UKR); 7:40.05
  4. Gregorio Paltrinieri (ITA); 7:41.19
  5. Guilherme Costa (BRA); 7:45.48
  6. Gabriele Detti (ITA); 7:47.75
  7. Damien Joly (FRA); 7:48.10
  8. Daniel Wiffen (IRL); 7:50.63




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