Twenty-two year old Greek swimmer Athanasios Kynigakis came in fifth in the exceptionally grueling 10K marathon swim at the Tokyo Olympics on Thursday.
Lasting an incredible ten kilometers, the race was won by the dominant marathon swimmer of the time, Florian Wellbrock of Germany, who clocked in at 1:48:33.7.
However, the young Greek swimmer, whose ambition was to be able to take part in the Tokyo swimming marathon, finished a very respectable fifth, with a time of 1:49:29.2
The silver medal was won by Kristof Rasovszky, of Hungary, whose time was 1:48:59.0 and the bronze was taken home by Gregorio Paltrinieri, from Italy, who clocked in at 1:49:01.1 in the swim, which took place in Tokyo’s Odaiba Marine Park.
Kynigakis has only been competing in swim marathons since 2018
Born in 1998, the 1.83/6’0” swimmer from Athens is just beginning his marathon swimming career, having competed in pool swimming events before this switch to open-water events. He started marathon swimming just in 2018, with recent accomplishments including a 12th place in the 10K race in a World Series event in 2021.
Belonging to the AO Palaio Faliro Swim Club, Kynigakis’ national coach is Alexandros Moraris while his personal coach is Vangelis Kozompolis.
Kynigakis competed in conventional swimming events as recently as the 2015 European Games in Baku, Azerbaijan.
The “Unbeatable” Florian Wellbrock was a lock in the Tokyo event, however, with most other competitors just hoping for second place at best.
“The first 7km was really easy for me,” Wellbrock stated to reporters after the race. His biggest challenger was the heat in Tokyo, with even the high temperatures of the bay’s water posing a problem.
The water temperature was a toasty 29 Celsius (84.2 Fahrenheit) when the swimming marathon race started at 6:30 AM Tokyo time; it didn’t;t become any cooler as the day wore on, with swimmers having to combat the unusual heat of the open water during the race, which took a total of almost two hours.
who said he had trained in tough conditions to prepare for the Games, conceded he had no chance of catching Wellbrock.
“Florian was unbeatable today,” said Rasovszky, the second-place finisher. “I tried to be the best of the rest.”