Yakov Toumarkin lived up to his billing as the future star of Israeli swimming on Tuesday, winning the bronze medal in the 100-meter backstroke final at the European Championships in Debrecen, Hungary.

The 19-year-old, who was a double-medalist in both the Youth Olympics and European Junior Championships two years ago, set a new Israeli record in Tuesday’s final, touching the wall after 54.14 seconds behind Germany’s Helge Meeuw (54.06s) and Greece’s Aristeidis Grigoriadis (53.86s).

“This is a big surprise and a big success for me,” Toumarkin said. “I didn’t think I would be able to scale the podium ahead of the championships, but I felt I could do it during the event and I realized my dream.

Now my sights are set on the Olympics where I hope to become the second Israeli swimmer to reach a final.”

Imri Ganiel ended the 100-meter breaststroke final in an impressive sixth place on Tuesday, clocking a time of 1:01.33 minutes, 37 hundredths of a second slower than his stunning Israeli record from Monday.

The 20-year-old failed to set the Olympic Qualifying Time required by the Olympic Committee of Israel to be part of the delegation for the London Games, but he will be hoping to book his place in the Olympics with the relay team later in the championships.

Even should he fail to do so, Ganiel’s performance in Debrecen could see him go to London this summer with a special exemption from the OCI as one of the delegation’s up-and-coming athletes.

Also Tuesday, Amit Ivri ended the women’s 50m butterfly final in eighth position (26.77s), while Gal Nevo advanced to Wednesday’s men’s 200m Individual Medley final from third place overall in a time of 1:59.62m.

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