israel swimming team 311.
(photo credit: Israel Swimming Association))
Israel’s swimmers began their participation at the short-course world
championships amid tight security in Dubai on Wednesday, but not without
The Israeli camp was furious when it was introduced as
ISR. in the opening ceremony, although later on when Guy Barnea swam in
the semifinals of the 100-meter backstroke, his country’s full name was finally
sounded at the arena.
Barnea finished in 14th place overall, setting an
Israeli record of 51.70 seconds in the morning heats before clocking a time of
51.92 in the evening semis.
Alon Mandel also set a national record on
Wednesday, touching the wall after 52.34s in the 100m butterfly heats, finishing
in 30th position overall.
Gal Nevo was the first Israeli swimmer to walk
out onto the pool deck, competing in the opening heat of the first event, the
men’s 200-meter freestyle.
“I feel kind of lucky as an athlete being
here, because the average Israeli guy probably wouldn’t visit here,” Nevo told
The Associated Press after finishing 37th in the 78-man field.
the team arrived late – just a day before the meet – because “there was some
problem with the security.”
“But once we got here, everything was good.
They’re taking good care of us,” Nevo said.
“We have a lot of security
around us, so I’m not sure I’m going to see anything. But being able to compete
Nevo said the team has about seven or eight “visible” security
agents watching it.
Last year, the United Arab Emirates – which has no
diplomatic relations with Israel – refused to grant Israeli tennis player Shahar
Pe’er an entry visa for the Dubai Championships, apparently because of
anti-Israeli sentiment in the Gulf state.
Her exclusion from an official
WTA event sparked uproar among her fellow players and earned the tournament a
However, Pe’er was permitted to enter this year’s
tournament in February, and reached the semifinals despite being largely
confined to her hotel room and the tennis club.
Meanwhile, Ryan Lochte’s
bid for eight gold medals ended when the United States relay squad failed to
even finish on the podium on the opening night of the short-course world
championships on Wednesday.
Lochte enjoyed a dominant win in the
200-meter freestyle, but in the 400 free relay the US fell behind after Nathan
Adrian’s dismal opening leg and Lochte had too much time to make up when he
dived in for the anchor leg.
Elsewhere, China set the first swimming
world record of 2010, winning the women’s 800 freestyle relay.
world records fell by the dozens in 2008 and 2009, no marks had been set this
year after rubberized bodysuits were outlawed – and there still has been no
individual mark set in either the long- or short-course pool.
of Chen Qian, Tang Yi, Liu Jjing and Zhu Qianwei timed 7 minutes, 35.94 seconds,
improving on the previous mark by nearly three seconds.