Swimming: Israel more than just treading water

Israel’s top swimmers return home to reap the financial rewards from their remarkable success.

May 28, 2012 23:19
1 minute read.
Amit Ivri (left) and Yakov Toumarkin

Amit Ivri (left) and Yakov Toumarkin 370. (photo credit: OCI/Courtesy)

After claiming five medals and reaching 11 finals at the European Championships in Debrecen, Hungary, Israel’s top swimmers returned home on Monday to reap the financial rewards from their remarkable success.

The 19-year-old Yakov Toumarkin, who won bronze medals at the 100-meter and 200m backstroke finals, setting Israeli records in both, was the biggest beneficiary, receiving a NIS 50,000 bonus from the Olympic Committee of Israel.

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Amit Ivri, who became the first Israeli woman to win a medal at the long-course Europeans when she finished third in the 100m butterfly final, went home with a check for NIS 25,000.

Jonatan Kopelev and Guy Barnea, who made history by taking a gold and a bronze, respectively, in the 50m back final, did not receive a bonus from the OCI as the 50m back is not an Olympic event, but they were given NIS 25,000 and 12,500 from a grateful Israeli Swimming Association.

Israel went 10 years without a medal at the longcourse Europeans until Barnea finished third in the 50m back final two years ago, but a new standard was set in Debrecen and national team coach Leonid Kaufman is hoping his swimmers can carry the momentum into the London Olympics.

“Our swimmers did extremely well. Besides the medalists, Gal Nevo finished fourth twice and Imri Ganial smashed the Israeli 100m breaststroke record,” Kaufman said.

“I expect every one of our swimmers to set personal bests in London and if they do that they should reach the semis. I can’t say anything beyond that because the rest is out of our control.”

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