Gal Nevo proved on Tuesday that he is capable of ending Israel’s decade-long
medal drought in the European Swimming Championships when he competes in the
final of the 200-meter Individual Medley on Wednesday evening.
23-year-old advanced to the final from third position overall, clocking a time
of one minute and 59.67 seconds in Tuesday’s semifinals.
Cseh and Austria’s Markus Rogan qualified for the final from the first two
positions and are expected to fight for the gold and silver
However, the battle for the bronze will be wide open and Nevo
will be confident of following in the footsteps of Eitan Urbach, Miki Halika and
Yoav Gath, the last Israeli to take a medal at this event, winning a bronze in
the 200-meter backstroke 10 years ago.
Meanwhile, Amit Ivri, Israel’s
first finalist in Budapest, ended the women’s 50-meter butterfly final in eighth
position on Tuesday.
The 21-year-old Ivri touched the wall after 26.53
seconds, two hundredths of a second slower than her time in Monday’s semifinal,
and failed to finish better than the seventh position she claimed two years
Also Tuesday, Camille Lacourt of France set a continental record in
winning the 100-meter backstroke final.
Lacourt won in 52.11 seconds,
improving on the European best of 52.27 set last year by Helge Meeuw of Germany.
French teammate Jeremy Stravius took silver, 1.33 seconds behind. Liam Tancock
of Britain was third, 1.75 seconds back.
“I do not realize what happened
to me,” Lacourt said. “After the preliminaries I thought I could win the race,
but a European record was not a goal. What a fast race.”
the final as a substitute for Markus Rogan, who withdrew to concentrate on the
semifinals of the 200 individual medley, so his bronze was
“It’s brilliant. I only made the final because Markus Rogan
withdrew, but today I was much better,” said Tancock, who was ninth in
qualifying on Monday.
“I’m not fully prepared here because I’m
concentrating on the Commonwealth Games in October.”
Alexander Dale Oen
of Norway also set a European record, winning the 100 breaststroke in 59.20
“Prior to the European championships I wanted to swim under one
minute,” Dale Oen said. “My main focus here was on the 100, but now we’ll wait
and see what I can do in the 50 and 200 meters.”
Hugues Duboscq of France
was second, 0.95 seconds behind the Norwegian. Fabio Scozzoli of France was
third, 1.21 back.
The 30th edition of the European championships is the
first major international meet where competitors can no longer wear the
neck-to-ankle bodysuits which helped set dozens of world records in recent
Rogan, who won a pair of silver medals in backstroke events at the
2004 Athens Olympics, said swimmers were training harder because of the bodysuit
“Everyone’s afraid you will be called ‘Mr. Suit,’” Rogan
“Everyone’s afraid you will not perform well without the
While several meet and European records have been set already at
the championships, times have been well below world record pace.
Munoz of Spain won the men’s 50 butterfly. He finished in 23.17, 0.24 seconds
faster than Frederick Bousquet of France. Evgeny Korotshkin of Russia was third,
just 0.02 seconds behind Bousquet.
“After a few weeks of worries I am
happy that today everything went so well,” said Munoz, who avoided a doping ban
last week after being cleared by FINA.
The sport’s governing body
accepted medical evidence that Munoz was in a “vulnerable psychological
condition” when first failing to report his whereabouts for
Munoz had three reporting failures since the 2009 world
championships in Rome, enough for at least a two-month ban according to
Despite FINA’s ruling, the World Anti-Doping Agency may
appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.