The 2012 European Championships in Debrecen, Hungary were historic for Israeli swimming.
Israel’s delegation returned with a record haul of five medals two years ago, as well as recording several other precedents.
Jonatan Kopelev became the first Israeli to win a gold medal in the event and Yakov Toumarkin claimed two medals in a single championships, while Amit Ivri became the first Israeli woman to scale the podium.
Until the 2012 edition in Debrecen, the Israeli delegation had never won more than two medals in a single championships.
The success brought with it expectations, but national team coach Leonid Kaufman has warned that it will be difficult to emulate the results of two years ago when the Europeans took place just a few months before the London Olympics. With no Olympics or World Championships taking place this year, Europe’s top swimmers will converge on the continental championships, which get underway in Berlin on Monday, making the Israeli delegation’s mission all the more difficult.
Israel’s delegation includes 12 male swimmers (Gal Nevo, Yakov Toumarkin, Guy Barnea, Jonatan Kopelev, David Gamburg, Tom Kremer, Nimrod Shapira, Almog Olshtein, Etay Gurevich, Yaron Shagalov, Liran (Alexi) Konovalov and Yahav Shahaff) and three female swimmers (Amit Ivri, Keren Siebner and Anastasia Korotkov).
Israel’s main candidates for a medal in Berlin will be those who have already scaled the podium in previous championships: Kopelev (who won a gold medal in the 50m backstroke in 2012), Barnea (who won a bronze medal in the 50m back in 2012 and 2010), Gal Nevo (who won a bronze medal in the 400m individual medley in 2010), Yakov Toumarkin (who won bronze medals in the 100m and 200m backstroke in 2012) and Ivri (who won a bronze medal in the 100m butterfly in 2012).
The Israeli swimmers were in the stands on Sunday to support Anastasia Gloushkov in the final of the synchronized swimming solo competition.
Gloushkov ended the final in an impressive fifth place with a score of 89.0667.
Also Sunday, Yuval Safra finished the men’s 25km open water race at the European Championships in seventh place, clocking a time of five hours and 10 minutes. Shahar Resman (5:14) finished in 11th place out of the 14 swimmers who completed the race.