Swimming: Barnea, Ivri reach finals at Euros

Dutch set world record in women's 400-meter freestyle relay.

Massimiliano Rosolino  (photo credit: )
Massimiliano Rosolino
(photo credit: )
Guy Barnea and Amit Ivri will compete in their respective final swims at the European Championships in Eindhoven on Wednesday after impressive showings in the opening day of the event on Tuesday. Barnea clocked a time of 55.05 seconds in the semifinals of the 100m backstroke, qualifying for the final from seventh place overall. The 20-year-old's time in the semis was 15 hundredths of a second slower than the new Israeli record time he set in the qualifiers during the morning session. Ivri set a new Israeli record of 26.62s in the women's 50m butterfly semifinals on Tuesday, advancing to the final from joint fifth overall. Despite guaranteeing herself a top 12 finish by progressing to the final, Ivri is still searching for an Olympic berth as the 50m butterfly is not an Olympic event. Besides Barnea and Ivri, 10 more Israeli swimmers competed on Tuesday. In the 100m backstroke Ehud Segel finished in a personal best time of 56.02s, just missing out on the semifinals and ending the competition in 19th position. Itai Chama and Ilia Ayzenshtok finished the same event in 29th and 30th place respectively. Nadav Kochavi set a new Israeli record in the 50m butterfly (24.67s), ending the competition in 21st place, with Alon Mandel clocking a time of 24.93s (33rd place). Tom Be'eri warmed-up for his main event, the 200m breaststroke, setting a personal best time of 1:02.73 minutes (29th place) in the 100m breaststroke. Miki Malul and Gal Nevo finished the same race in 48th and 52nd place respectively. Also Tuesday, Max Jaben and Nimrod Shapira Bar-Or completed the 400m freestyle in 3:56.64m (24th place) and 3:57.08m (26th place). Meanwhile, the Netherlands set a world record in the women's 400-meter freestyle relay Tuesday with a time of 3 minutes, 33.62 seconds. The Dutch team made up of Inge Dekker, Ranomi Kromowidjojo, Femke Heemskerk and Marleen Veldhuis led throughout the race in front of a raucous home crowd, and easily beat the old mark of 3:35.22 set two years ago by Germany. Italy was second in 3:41.06 and Sweden was third in 3:41.28. Dekker led off strongly and was already a second inside the world record time after her leg, before the 17-year-old Kromowidjojo took over and kept up the pace. Heemskerk faded slightly to turn over to Veldhuis just .06 seconds inside record pace. But Veldhuis pulled away again to make the new record safe as the crowd roared her home at the first European swimming championships to be held in the Netherlands since 1966. In the evening's final race, Sweden won the men's 400 freestyle relay ahead of Italy. Four-time Olympic champion Yana Klochkova failed to qualify Tuesday for the final of the women's 400-meter individual medley on the opening day of the European swimming championships. The 25-year-old Ukrainian, who won the 200 and 400 individual medley at both the Sydney and Athens Olympics, finished her heat in 4 minutes, 50.36 seconds - 17 seconds slower than her own European record and 12th overall. Klochkova took a break from training after Athens and is working her way back to full fitness for the Beijing Olympics. Yana Martynova of Russia qualified fastest for the final with a time of 4:40.47. Alessia Filippi of Italy was second in 4:42.80 and Katinka Hosszu of Hungary was third in 4:42.86 at the National Swimming Center, where many top swimmers are treating the meet as a preparation for the Beijing Olympics. Pawel Korzeniowski qualified fastest for the final of the men's 400-meter freestyle final with 3:47.70, more than a second faster than defending champion Yury Prilukov of Russia. Dragos Coman of Romania was third fastest in 3:49.02. In the women's 50-meter butterfly heats, Inge Dekker led a 1-2-3 finish for the Netherlands with her time of 25.89. She was followed by Chantal Groot in 26.39 and Hinkelien Schreuder in 26.59.