The main pool at the Wingate Institute in Netanya is ready for today’s start of the European Short Course Swimming Championships..
(photo credit: ISRAEL SWIMMING ASSOCIATION)
Yakov Toumarkin and Meiron Cheruti will both compete in finals at the European Swimming Championships in London on Tuesday, but the first day of the event was one of mixed fortunes for the Israel delegation.
Toumarkin advanced to the 100-meter backstroke final from sixth place overall on Monday, clocking a time of 54.18 seconds in the semifinals. Toumarkin won bronze medals in the 100m and 200m backstroke at the Europeans in Debrecen, Hungary four years ago, but failed to even reach a final at the previous edition of the event in Berlin two years ago.
Toumarkin is one of six Israeli swimmers to have already booked their place at the Rio Olympics this summer (Gal Nevo, Ziv Kalontarov, Amit Ivri, Andrea Murez and Zohar Shikler), a list which remained unchanged following the opening day in London.
Teenager Cheruti surprisingly progressed to the final of the 50m butterfly, finishing the semis in seventh place in a time of 23.70s.
However, with the 50m fly not being an Olympic event, Cheruti has yet to qualify for Rio.
Guy Barnea was the closest to qualify on Monday, clocking 54.81s in the 100m backstroke heats, 45 hundredths of a second from the qualifying time. Barnea advanced to the semis, but he failed to improve on his time, finishing in 14th place overall (55.03s).
David Gamburg and Jonatan Kopelev were also seeking to qualify in the 100m back on Monday, but they came up well short. Gamburg (55.14s) and Kopelev (55.15s) clocked times fast enough to participate in the semis, but with only two swimmers from each country being allowed to take part in the evening swim, they ended up missing out.
Barnea, Gamburg and Kopelev have until July 3 to set the qualifying time in a sanctioned event.
Israel’s women’s team in the 4x100m freestyle entered Monday with high hopes of reaching Rio, but ended the day in bitter disappointment.
The team of Keren Siebner, Shikler, Ivri and Murez didn’t even register a time after being disqualified for an illegal switch.