Israel’s Yakov Toumarkin registered his best result to date at the world championships on Monday.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Yakov Toumarkin ensured the European Short Course Swimming Championships at the Wingate Institute in Netanya ended on a sweet note for the hosts on Sunday, claiming his second medal and Israel’s third after finishing in second place in the 100-meter individual medley final.
Toumarkin, who won Israel’s first medal in the championships in the 200m backstroke in the opening day of the event last Wednesday, set a new Israeli record time of 52.62 seconds on Sunday, after already improving it in the heats and the semis. Sergei Fesikov of Russia won the gold (52.00s).
“I’m really happy. I wasn’t expecting anything from the 100m IM,” said a delighted Toumarkin. “I’m happy I took a medal and also broke my personal best and the national record. What I achieved was beyond my expectations. I wasn’t expecting two medals. I thought I would take one.”
The 23-year-old registered Israel’s best ever result for a swimmer at the Olympics when he finished in seventh in the 200m backstroke in London 2012. The expectations from him in the Rio Games next summer only grew following his performance in Netanya, but he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“There is always pressure and that is also the case ahead of Rio, but that is the way it goes in professional sports,” he explained.
“If there wasn’t pressure I wouldn’t be standing here.”
Toumarkin also spoke of the importance of hosting the championships to Israeli swimming.
“I’m pleased the competition has gotten so much coverage and that so many fans came out to see us,” he said. “I hope this can change something in the way the sport of swimming is perceived in Israel.”
Israel ended the championships with three medals, Toumarkin’s silvers and Gal Nevo’s bronze medal from the 400m IM. Guy Barnea and Jonatan Kopelev were hoping to add to that tally in the 50m backstroke final on Sunday, but came up just short. Barnea finished in fifth place in a new Israeli record time of 23.27s, 18 hundredths of a second back of third place, with Kopelev setting a personal best of 23.45s to finish in sixth.
Katinka Hosszu of Hungary was named as the championships top female swimmer, receiving a 20,000 euro bonus, after winning six gold medals and one silver, breaking two world records. Italy’s Gregorio Paltrinieri won the men’s title after breaking the world record on the way to the gold in the 1,500m final.
The European governing body for aquatic sports, LEN, labeled the championships in Netanya as “one of the most successful editions in the history of the event” in a press release on Sunday.
“The 2015 European Short Course Swimming Championships were one of the greatest and the best ever in the history of the event,” LEN President Paolo Barelli concluded on the closing day of the continental showcase.
“Thanks to the Israeli organizers, the Israeli Swimming Association, the city of Netanya and the event’s partners we could spend a wonderful week here. The venue, the accommodation, the hospitality all catered even the highest demands. I should mention security too, as we enjoyed the utmost safety – or let me say, we never felt that we could face any problems here. Our hosts took care of all participants without any demonstration