Underwhelming showing for Israelis at world swimming championships

Yakov Toumarkin was the delegation’s best performer in Kazan, advancing to two semifinals.

Israeli swimmer Gal Nevo (photo credit: REUTERS)
Israeli swimmer Gal Nevo
(photo credit: REUTERS)
For the first time in 10 years and five editions of the event, Israel ended a world swimming championships without a single finalist on Sunday.
Gal Nevo was Israel’s last hope of making a final, but he finished the 400-meters individual medley heats in 14th place in the final day of the championships in Kazan, Russia on Sunday, clocking a time of 4:17.34 minutes.
Not since the 2005 championships in Montreal, have Israeli swimmers failed to reach even one final at the world championships.
In fact, since Yoav Bruck became the first Israeli to qualify for a final at a world championships in 1994, at least one Israeli swimmer had done so in every edition of the event apart from 2005, and now 2015.
Yakov Toumarkin was the delegation’s best performer in Kazan, advancing to two semifinals, ending the 200m individual medley in 11th place and the 100m backstroke in 12th.
Elsewhere, mystery surrounded the conclusion of the world championships on Sunday when China’s twice champion and favorite Sun Yang failed to start the men’s 1,500-meter freestyle final won by Gregorio Paltrinieri.
As the Italian celebrated his first world title, the sport’s governing body FINA said a chest complaint had caused Sun to pull out minutes before the distance race, denying him the chance to claim his third title of the week.
“I feel very sorry that I couldn’t be present for the 1500m,” Sun told reporters.
“I didn’t feel good in my heart. Today I felt really uncomfortable at the pool during my warm-up and I had to give up the idea of competing. I feel really sorry about that.”
Sun was asked about reports that he had an altercation with a Brazilian swimmer during training in the adjacent pool.
“I have no comment because it was a morning problem,” he said.
In the absence of Sun, who won the 400m and 800m freestyle titles not on the blocks, Paltrinieri set a European record 14-minutes 39.67 seconds to claim gold.
But the Italian was nearly made to pay for his opening 800m as pursuing American Connor Jaeger finished 1.53 seconds behind, with Canadian Ryan Cochrane third.
France continued its domination of the men’s 50m races with Camille Lacourt retaining his 50m backstroke title in 24.23 seconds – the fifth fastest in history as he held off American Matt Grevers and Australia’s Ben Treffers.
The women’s 50m breaststroke final provided two shocks as Sweden’s Jennie Johansson touched for gold in 30.05 seconds with Jamaica’s Alia Atkinson runner-up. Yuliya Efimova, the controversial Russian who was returning to major competition after a drug ban, finished third.
Rising Australian Bronte Campbell clocked 24.12 seconds to win the women’s 50m freestyle, adding to her 100m title.
Japan’s defending champion Daiya Seto produced a searing breaststroke leg to take command of the men’s 400m individual medley final, then stayed composed on the freestyle section to win in the year’s fastest time.
Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu was inside world record pace at the final turn as she just held on to defend her title and complete the 200m and 400m individual medley double.
Hosszu clocked 4:30.39 over 400m – 0.08 seconds outside her Hungarian record – with fast-finishing Maya DiRado taking silver and Emily Overholt of Canada bronze.
The men’s 4x100m medley relay saw the United States regain world bragging rights with its quartet posting 3:29.93 to leave Australia and defending champion France in its wake.
In the closing women’s 4x100m medley final, fastest qualifier China kept up its domination to secure gold.
The US topped the final medal table, with 23 in total – eight gold, 10 silver and five bronze. Australia finished on seven golds, with China and Britain locked on five each.
Reuters contributed to this report.