Barely anyone outside the Israeli swimming world had even heard of Imri Ganiel
until last month’s European Championships.
The 20-year-old entered the
championships in Debrecen, Hungary, mainly to gain experience in a major event,
but he ended up improving his personal best in the 100-meter breaststroke by
over a second-and-a-half, also smashing the national record to reach the final
in which he finished in sixth place.
Ganiel came just 17 hundredths of a
second short of setting the Olympic Qualifying Time required by the Olympic
Committee of Israel to be awarded an automatic place at the London Games, but he
was added to the team nevertheless as one of its up-and-coming
Despite his recent stunning success, Ganiel will struggle to
reach a semifinal in London even if he manages to repeat his Israeli record time
of 1:00.96m in the 100m breaststroke.
However, considering how far he’s
come in such a short time, it is anyone’s guess what he might accomplish at the
London Games, which no one even thought he had any chance of reaching.