Israeli swimmers Bar-Or and Barnea fail to reach finals

Bar-Or swam 1:46:18 minutes in the 200 meter freestyle; Barnea missed final in 100 meters backstroke category after he swam 54:92 seconds.

Nimrod Shapira Bar Or 22 (photo credit: AP)
Nimrod Shapira Bar Or 22
(photo credit: AP)
Israeli swimmers Nimrod Shapira Bar-Or and Guy Barnea failed to reach the final of their categories in the Olympic pool in Beijing on Monday morning. Shapira Bar-Or swam 1:46:18 minutes in the semi-final of the 200 meter freestyle, finishing 8th and last. Barnea missed the final in the 100 meters backstroke category after he swam 54:92 seconds, less than the Israeli record of 54:50 he set on Sunday. Bar-Or, who was only told 10 days ago that he would be able to compete at the Games thanks to a ruling from the Olympic Committee of Israel High Court, improved his previous mark by nearly a second, clocking a time of 1:47.78 minutes in the 200 meters freestyle on Sunday. The 19-year-old, who has long been regarded as the future of Israeli swimming, raised his arms in celebration on Sunday when he turned and saw his result on the scoreboard and jumped with joy inside the pool. "I'm delighted. I wanted to prove to everybody that I deserved to be sent to the Games," Bar-Or said. "I implemented the correct tactic, swimming the first 100 meters slowly." Bar-Or was only sixth at the halfway mark, but overtook everybody on his way to winning heat 5 and finished 15th overall in the qualifiers. Barnea also finished in 15th position, setting a new Israeli record time of 54.50 seconds in the 100m backstroke. The 20-year-old, who finished seventh at the 100m backstroke final at this year's European Championships, admitted that Bar-Or's success several minutes before he entered the pool, gave him a big boost. "Bar-Or's superb achievement gave me a massive lift. Swimming is back on the map and it's not just one swimmer, but the entire team," Barnea said. "I thought it would be tougher to get into the semi, but several swimmers weren't on top form." The first Israeli to race on Sunday was Anya Gostomelsky who, despite setting a new Israeli record in the 100m backstroke, came up short in her attempt to advance to the semis, finishing in 25th place out of 47. "I swam the best result of my life and that's the most important thing," said Gostomelsky, who touched the wall after 1:01.87m. Gostomelsky has two more events to race before the end of the Games, the 100m and 50m freestyle. "It may be the new swimsuits or maybe its drugs, but everybody is setting amazing times. I've saved one suit for the freestyle races and I hope it pays off," she added.