Bar-Or a pleasant surprise at worlds

Barnea just misses Olympic time.

Nimrod Shapira Bar-Or wasn’t even supposed to take part in the swimming World Championships in Shanghai, China.
It was only two weeks ago that the 22-year-old received a special exemption to race in the worlds, despite recording his qualifying time of 1:48.48 minutes in the 200-meters freestyle in Croatia a day after the close of the registration deadline for Shanghai.
The Israel Swimming Association pleaded with world governing body FINA to allow Shapira Bar-Or to enter the event and it paid off on Monday when he became the first local swimmer to set the criteria for next summer’s London Olympics, advancing to the semifinals of the 200m free.
Shapira Bar-Or clocked a season- best time of 1:48.11m to progress to the semis from 12th position, before finishing in 15th place overall after recording a time of 1:48.59m in the evening race.
While there was joy for Shapira Bar-Or, there was bitter disappointment for another Israeli swimmer on Monday, with Guy Barnea missing out on Olympic qualification by just one hundredth of a second.
Barnea recorded an impressive time of 54.43 seconds in the 100m backstroke heats, but that was only good enough to finish joint-16th with Xiaole Sun.
Barnea couldn’t repeat his earlier performance in the swim-off for the semis, clocking a time of 55.12s, and Sun advanced.
Not only did Barnea miss out on the semis by one hundredth, but he also came a mere three hundredths from hitting the Olympic Qualifying Time set by FINA for the 2012 Games, which would have booked him a place in London regardless of his overall position.
Also Monday, Jonatan Kopelev finished 25th overall in the 100m back (54.90s), while Anna Volchkov set a season-best time of 1:03.12m in the women’s 100m back heats to finish 34th.