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Less than a year after winning two gold medals at the Rio Olympics, American Anthony Ervin will be competing today at the swimming events of the 20th Maccabiah at the Wingate Institute..(Photo by: REUTERS)
Records fall as Olympians shine at Maccabiah Games
Olympic champion Anthony Ervin makes a splash at the 20th Games.
The pool at the Wingate Institute has never seen so many Olympic medalists compete at the same time as it did in an exhibition swim held during the 20th Maccabiah on Tuesday.

Four more Maccabiah records were broken in the pool, but the special 4x50-meters relay race between Israeli and American all-star teams stole the show.

The Americans were represented by Olympic champions Lenny Krayzelburg, Jason Lezak and Anthony Ervin, as well as Alex Blavatnik, a Maccabiah masters swimmer and a major donor.

Krayzelburg took part in the 2001 Maccabiah and claimed three gold medals in the 2000 Olympics in Sydney and one more in Athens four years later.

Lezak competed in the Maccabiah in 2009 and has eight Olympic medals to his name – including four golds – from Sydney 2000 to London 2012.

Ervin is competing in the current Maccabiah and is the reigning Olympic champion in the 50m freestyle.

Israel’s team also included one active swimmer in Guy Barnea, as well as the retired Yoav Bruck, Eran Garumi and Tal Stricker, all former Olympians.

The Americans won the race in front of the raucous crowd in 1:48.23 minutes, with Israel finishing in 1:51.25m.

“I’m proud to be American and I’m proud to be a Jew. I didn’t choose either one and I’m going to stick to the country I was born in,” said Ervin with a smile when asked if he would consider making aliyah.

“This race was super fun. Everybody back there was a little nervous. We all cared about this. We wanted to perform well and we swam as fast as we could, knowing we are all legends in our own right. I think it had a lot of meaning for all of us.”

American swimmers also starred in the day’s competitive races. The first record of the evening was set by BJ Johnson, who won the 100m breaststroke in 1:01.27m. Countrywoman Kelly Fertel set a new Maccabiah record in the women’s 400m freestyle, clocking a time of 4:18.19m.

Tasija Karosas of the USA registered a new Games record in the women’s 100m backstroke with a time of 1:01.94m. Fertel and Karosas were also part of the American women’s 4x200m relay team that set a new record.

The men’s 100m back was won by Israel’s David Gamburg, who tuned up for the World Championships with a time of 54.96 seconds.

In the gymnastics events, Israel’s Gaya Giladi claimed the gold in the beam final and a silver in the vault, won by countrywoman Ofir Netzer.

The athletics finals will begin in Givat Ram in Jerusalem on Wednesday. The men’s and women’s 100m finals are among the many events in which medals will be handed out.

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