Israel’s Kopelev finishes 8th in 50m back

No medals for blue-and-white at Worlds in Marsh’s debut meet • Dressel equals Phelps with 7 golds.

July 31, 2017 00:41
2 minute read.
Israel’s Kopelev finishes 8th in 50m back

IsraelI SWIMMER Jonatan Kopelev finished eighth in yesterday’s 50-meter backstroke final at the world championships in Budapest. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Israel’s Jonatan Kopelev ended the 50-meter backstroke final at the swimming world championships in Budapest, Hungary, in the eighth and final place on Sunday.

The 25-year-old was the first Israeli to take part in a world final since 2013, but his time of 24.86 seconds, two hundredths of a second slower than his result in Saturday’s semifinals, was only good enough for last place among the finalists.

France’s Camille Lacourt took the gold in 24.35s, with Junya Koga of Japan picking up the silver (24.51s) and America’s Matt Grevers claiming the bronze (24.56s), 30 hundredths ahead of Israel’s representative.

Kopelev, the European champion in the 50m back from 2012, also finished eighth in the world final in 2013 and was 11th overall in the semis two years ago.

Apart from Kopelev, Yakov Toumarkin (100m backstroke, 200m individual medley) and Andrea Murez (100m freestyle) were the only other Israelis to qualify for a semifinal in Budapest.

The championships in Hungary, which came to an end on Sunday, were Israel’s first major competition under new head coach David Marsh.

After the disappointment of the Rio 2016 Olympics, the Israeli Swimming Association decided to change course by hiring Marsh to be its top professional authority and lead Israeli swimming to Tokyo 2020.

Leonid Kaufman was relieved from his role as the head coach of Israel’s national swimming team, a job he had held since 2007, as well as during much of the 1990’s.

Marsh was the head coach of the US women’s team at the Rio Olympics and served as a men’s assistant coach for the 2012, 2000 and 1996 US Olympic teams.

Meanwhile, Caeleb Dressel of the United States heralded a new era in world swimming when he equaled the great Michael Phelps’s feat of seven golds at a single world championships as the 17th edition closed.

The 20-year-old Dressel underlined his credentials as the world’s fastest starter in breathtaking fashion when he broke away on the butterfly leg to give the US gold in the men’s 4x100 meters medley relay.

Dressel had already won three individual golds and three relay titles in Budapest and Sunday’s addition allowed him to match his compatriot Phelps’s tally from the 2007 championships in Melbourne.

He also helped the US to record its best-ever world championship haul, with 38 medals.

Teammate Lilly King had kick-started the evening in blistering style with a world-record time of 29.40 seconds in the women’s 50m breaststroke.

King beat Russian Yuilya Efimova to the wall by 0.17 seconds, with another American, Katie Meili taking bronze.

The atmosphere rose when Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu glided to gold in the women’s 400m individual medley, adding to her 200m medley title.

The 12,000-strong crowd roared Hosszu on to a championship record time of four minutes, 29.33 seconds. Mireia Belmonte of Spain won silver, with Canadian Sydney Pickrem claiming bronze.

Chase Kalisz’s breaststroke leg in the men’s 400m individual medley also saw him land an individual medley double.

The American set a championship record of four minutes 5.90 seconds to become the third-fastest performer behind Phelps and Ryan Lochte.

David Verraszto of Hungary won silver, with Japan’s Daiya Seto securing bronze.

Swede Sarah Sjostrom won her third individual gold in the women’s 50m freestyle to wrap up a memorable championships which also included two world records.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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