< back
Sport Open Water Swimming
NOC Germany   
Born19 Aug 1997 in Bremen, GER
Height1.93 m
 Human Interest 
Further Personal Information
Wife Sarah Kohler
Magdeburg, GER
English, German
Sport Specific Information
When and where did you begin this sport?
He began swimming as a child, and decided to pursue the sport seriously when he moved to a sports boarding school in Magdeburg, Germany, in 2014.
Why this sport?
"My beginning in swimming goes back to my childhood years. Back then my parents wanted me to learn to swim."
Club / Team
SC Magdeburg : Germany
Name of coach
Bernd Berkhahn [club, national], GER
General Interest
Flo (weser-kurier.de, 17 Aug 2019)
Listening to music, driving. (welt.de, 24 Dec 2019)
Most influential person in career
His parents. (welt.de, 24 Dec 2019)
Hero / Idol
German triathlete Marcus Herbst. (weser-kurier.de, 12 Apr 2019)
Superstitions / Rituals / Beliefs
He likes to listen to rap music before a competition. (welt.de, 24 Dec 2019)
Awards and honours
He was named 2021 Best Male Open Water Swimmer by the International Swimming Federation [FINA]. (fina.org, 17 Dec 2021)

He received the 2021 Male Open Water Swimmer of the Year award from swimming website SwimSwam in its Swammy Awards. (swimswam.com, 05 Jan 2022)

He was named Male Open Water Swimmer of the Year for 2021 by the European Swimming Federation [LEN]. (len.eu, 31 Jan 2022)

In 2021 he was one of three recipients of an honorary sports award at the Goldene Henne [Golden Hen] award ceremony in Leipzig, Germany. (mdr.de, 17 Sep 2021; Instagram profile, 17 Sep 2021)

In October 2021 his name was added to the Sports Walk of Fame in Magdeburg, Germany. (stadtmarketing-magdeburg.de, 20 Oct 2021; Instagram profile, 20 Oct 2021)

He was named male Open Water Swimmer of the Year by Swimming World magazine in 2019 and 2021. (swimmingworldmagazine.com, 02 Nov 2019, 03 Nov 2021)

He was named 2018 Sportsman of the Year in Bremen, Germany. (weser-kurier.de, 12 Apr 2019)
At the 2019 World Championships in Gwangju, Republic of Korea, he became the first swimmer from any nation to win a gold medal at a single edition of the world championships in both the pool and open water swimming. He won gold in the 10km open water swim and later won the 1500m event in the pool in Gwangju. (SportsDeskOnline, 12 Feb 2020)
Famous relatives
His wife Sarah Kohler has represented Germany in swimming. She won gold in the mixed open water relay and silver in the pool in the 1500m freestyle at the 2019 World Championships in Gwangju, Republic of Korea, and bronze in the 1500m freestyle at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. (SportsDeskOnline, 21 Oct 2021; fina.org, 08 Oct 2021; Instagram profile, 09 Sep 2021; volksstimme.de, 01 Sep 2018)
To win a gold medal at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. (fina.org, 08 Oct 2021)
Other information
He won gold in the 10km open water event at the 2019 World Championships in Gwangju, Republic of Korea, and was among the favourites to win the 800m in Gwangju but did not make the final. "It was a kick in the guts and the hardest part of the whole world championships. I tried to process the disappointment by writing things down. When I try to work something out, I don't do it straight away. I write a little, let two or three days pass, read it through and work on it. I deal with it by myself and then save it in my phone." He bounced back from the 800m disappointment to win gold in the 1500m event in Gwangju. "Dealing with the disappointment of the 800m event and then having to get myself motivated for the 1500m was quite a challenge. It was awesome that I could actually win my second gold. The negative experience has definitely made me stronger. I now know that even if I have a bad race, I will be able to pick myself up again and achieve a top performance. It doesn't knock me over. I also think it would be boring to just win medal after medal, so the setback was good in a way and important for me." (welt.de, 24 Dec 2019)

When he was a child his sister Franziska died when she hit her head after a family swim. "I was nine years old at that time, and clearly it was a shock to have lost my sister, but I did not really understand it at the time. I just continued on with life." In memory of his sister he has a tattoo with a line from the song 'Feel Free' by Sido below his left shoulder that reads, 'Enjoy your life, you'll be dead longer than you're alive'. (volksstimme.de, 01 Sep 2018)

 Competition Highlights
Olympic Games
Rank Year Venue Event Result
4 2021 Tokyo, JPN 800m Freestyle 7:42.68
3 2021 Tokyo, JPN 1500m Freestyle 14:40.91
Heats 2016 Rio de Janeiro, BRA 1500m Freestyle 15:23.88
World Championships
Rank Year Venue Event Result
3 2022 Budapest, HUN 1500m Freestyle 14:36.94
2 2022 Budapest, HUN 800m Freestyle 7:39.63
Heats 2019 Gwangju, KOR 800m Freestyle 7:53.75
1 2019 Gwangju, KOR 1500m Freestyle 14:36.54
7 2017 Budapest, HUN 800m Freestyle 7:52.27
Heats 2017 Budapest, HUN 1500m Freestyle 15:07.43
World Championships Short Course
Rank Year Venue Event Result
1 2021 Abu Dhabi, UAE 1500m Freestyle 14:06.88
17 2016 Windsor, ON, CAN 1500m Freestyle 14:52.00 
Heats 2016 Windsor, ON, CAN 400m Freestyle 3:47.30
European Championships
Rank Year Venue Event Result
5 2022 Rome, ITA 1500m Freestyle 15:02.51
1 2018 Glasgow, SCO 1500m Freestyle 14:36.15
3 2018 Glasgow, SCO 800m Freestyle 7:45.60
European Championships Short Course
Rank Year Venue Event Result
1 2021 Kazan, RUS 1500m Freestyle 14:09.88
2 2021 Kazan, RUS 800m Freestyle 7:27.99
Heats 2021 Kazan, RUS 400m Freestyle 3:41.09
Heats 2017 Copenhagen, DEN 1500m Freestyle 14:41.18
Heats 2017 Copenhagen, DEN 400m Freestyle 3:44.41
Heats 2015 Netanya, ISR 1500m Freestyle 15:02.61
World Cup
Rank Year Venue Event Result
25 2021   Overall Ranking  
1 2021 Berlin, GER 1500m Freestyle 14:35.23
4 2021 Berlin, GER 400m Freestyle 3:42.22
6 2021 Budapest, HUN 400m Freestyle 3:45.94
1 2021 Budapest, HUN 1500m Freestyle 14:42.70
2 2019 Berlin, GER 400m Freestyle 3:48.98
1 2019 Berlin, GER 1500m Freestyle 15:10.82
1 2019 Budapest, HUN 1500m Freestyle 14:57.83
4 2019 Budapest, HUN 400m Freestyle 3:51.33
4 2017 Berlin, GER 1500m Freestyle 14:33.25
1 2016 Berlin, GER 1500m Freestyle 14:35.79
World Championships
Rank Year Venue Event Result
3 2022 Budapest, HUN 10km 1:51:11.2
1 2022 Budapest, HUN 5km 52:48.8
1 2022 Budapest, HUN 6km - Team Relay  
1 2019 Gwangju, KOR 10km 1:47:55.9
5 2015 Kazan, RUS 5km 55:20.6
European Championships
Rank Year Venue Event Result
  2022 Rome, ITA 10km  
9 2021 Budakalász, HUN 5km 55:50.5
3 2021 Budakalász, HUN 10km 1:51:42.0
2 2021 Budakalász, HUN 5km - Team Relay 54:18.0
  2018 Glasgow, SCO 25km  DNF
2 2018 Glasgow, SCO 5km - Team Relay 52:35.6
World Series
Rank Year Venue Event Result
1 2021 Abu Dhabi, UAE 10km 1:48:09.4
  2020   10km  
3 2020 Doha, QAT 10km 1:49:59.3
17 2019   10km  
1 2019 Doha, QAT 10km 1:52:21.6
15 2018   10km  
1 2018 Abu Dhabi, UAE 10km 1:53:00.9
1 2018 Balatonfüred, HUN 10km 1:55:40.20