Top Israeli swimmers set for Short-Course Worlds in Dubai

Israel’s swimming team arrived in Dubai under tight security ahead of the start of the World Short Course Championships.

December 15, 2010 07:20
2 minute read.
Israel Swimming team in Dubai.

Israeli swimming team 311. (photo credit: Israel Swimming Association)

Israel’s swimming team arrived in Dubai under tight security on Tuesday ahead of the start of the World Short Course Championships on Wednesday.

Amit Ivri, Jonatan Koplev, Guy Barnea, Alon Mandel and Gal Nevo were not given a visa to Dubai, but despite the many difficulties mounted by the locals, were eventually allowed into the United Arab Emirates without an entry permit to compete in the prestigious five-day championships.

The Israeli team, guided by coach Leonid Kaufman, is being hosted in a different hotel to the rest of the swimmers and has been given a round the clock police escort.

Koplev, Barnea and Mandel will enter the competition in the opening day, with Ivri and Nevo to begin their participation on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Cesar Cielo will get the chance to reestablish his No. 1 status in short-course swimming this week after a dip in form at his last major event.

Only last year, Cielo was the undisputed leader in sprint swimming. He won the 50-meter freestyle at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and then swept both sprints – the 50 and 100 free – at the 2009 long-course worlds in Rome.

But he failed to win over both distances at the Pan Pacific championships in August, where American sprinter Nathan Adrian prevailed. Now Cielo is set to renew his rivalry with Adrian during the championships which will run from Wednesday to Sunday and feature nearly 800 swimmers from 148 countries.

Michael Phelps won’t be traveling to the United Arab Emirates – he’s still relaxing before gearing up for one final Olympic run – but teammate Ryan Lochte, who has clearly taken over as the best, most versatile swimmer in the world, is entered.

Australia is sending a team of 27 swimmers including the likes of Geoff Huegill and Leisel Jones. And Italy’s Federica Pellegrini, Swedish standouts Therese Alshammar and Sarah Sjostrom, Liu Zige of China, and Alain Bernard of France are also coming.

One thing that is unlikely to emerge from the event is a world record.

This meet is the first world championship since rubberized suits were banned last year and not one long-course world record has been set in all of 2010.

At the last short-course worlds in Manchester, England, two years ago, a whopping 18 world records were set.

However, swimming devotees will be comparing the winning times in Dubai not with world records, but with previous best times set in textile suits.

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