Israel’s swimmers will return home to a hero’s welcome on Monday after completing an historically successful performance at the European Championships on Sunday.

So outstanding were the championships in Debrecen, Hungary, that Gal Nevo’s fourth-place finish in Sunday’s 400-meter Individual Medley final in a time of 4:16.14 minutes was regarded as a relative disappointment.

However, while Nevo came up just short in his attempt to hold on to the bronze he won at the event two years ago, the championships in Hungary look set to be remembered as a watershed moment for Israeli swimming.

While in the past a single medal was considered to be a successful haul from the entire championships, the blue-and-white team will return to Israel with five medals on Monday, including an historic gold.

Yakov Toumarkin took the first Israeli medal in Debrecen when he finished third in the 100m backstroke before adding a second bronze in the 200m back on Saturday, ending the final in a new Israeli record time of 1:57.35m.

At just 19-years-old, Toumarkin became the first Israeli swimmer to ever win two medals at the same European Championships.

After Jonatan Kopelev and Guy Barnea made history by taking a gold and a bronze, respectively, in the 50-meter back final, Amit Ivri achieved another first when she became the first Israeli woman to win a medal at the long-course Europeans.

Ivri, who also set the criteria for the London Olympics, claimed a bronze in the 100m butterfly final on Friday, touching the wall after 58.78s.

“I’m delighted with this medal,” Ivri said.

“Now I’ll turn my focus to the Olympics at which I’ll bring Israel even more honor.”

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