Olympics on the mind of Israeli swimmers

Israel’s top swimmers will go in search of an Olympic berth at the World Championships in Shanghai, China.

Swimmer Amit Ivry 311 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Swimmer Amit Ivry 311
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Israel’s top swimmers will go in search of an Olympic berth this week at the World Championships in Shanghai, China, which begin on Sunday.
Twenty-four-year-old Gal Nevo is Israel’s only realistic hope of reaching a final in China, but the delegation’s six other swimmers will all be aiming to at least make the semis in their events or record the Olympic Qualifying Time set by swimming’s governing body FINA to book a place at next summer’s London Games.
“We are entering the championships in a confident mood and I personally hope to improve my national records,” said Nevo. “If I do that I will improve on my position at the last worlds two years ago. I’m looking to reach two finals and finish higher than I did two years ago.”
Nevo equaled the best ever finish by an Israeli at the World Swimming Championships in Rome in 2009, finishing the 400-meter individual medley final in sixth position.
The Kibbutz Hamadia native also has two medals to his name in major competitions, taking a bronze at the European Swimming Championships last August and finishing third at the European Short Course Swimming Championships in 2009.
In his most recent major competition last December, Nevo finished in seventh position in the 400m IM at the short-course world championships in Dubai.
“I think everyone on the team can reach at least a semifinal,” Nevo said. “That is the goal and I hope we can achieve it.”
Nevo will compete in four different events in Shanghai, including in the 100m breaststroke on Sunday. But he’ll only swim his main events later in the week, competing in the 200m IM on Wednesday and 400m IM in the final day of the championships next Sunday.
Amit Ivry will also swim on Sunday, competing in the women’s 100m butterfly and 200m IM, with Yakov Toumarkin, Jonatan Kopelev, Anna Volchkov, Guy Barnea and Nimrod Shapira Bar-Or to all enter the championships later in the week.
“This is our most important competition ahead of the Olympics,” national team coach Leonid Kaufman said. “Each of our swimmers is aiming to reach a semifinal and set personal bests. However, there is no point dreaming of a medal. It isn’t going to happen.”