Swimming: Israeli teams sputter, fail to qualify for Olympics

The European Swimming Championships ended in a slight disappointment for the Israel camp.

swimming 224.88 (photo credit: AP)
swimming 224.88
(photo credit: AP)
The European Swimming Championships ended in a slight disappointment for the Israel camp on Monday after neither of the relay teams' managed to qualify for the final and meet the Olympic criteria. Guy Barnea led out the men's team with a time of 55.26 seconds in the backstroke, but Tom Be'eri (1:03.21 minutes in the breaststroke), Alon Mandel (53.45s in the butterfly) and Nimrod Shapira Bar-Or (50.37s in the freestyle) couldn't build on the good start and the team finished 13th out of the 19 teams in a time of 3:42.29m. In the women's 4 x 100m medley relay, Anya Gostomelsky (1:03.54m in the backstroke), Yuliya Banach (1:11.67m in the breaststroke), Amit Ivri (59.63s in the butterfly) and Anastasia Korotkov (59.65s in the freestyle) set a new Israeli record time of 4:14.49m, but finished in 11th position and missed out on the final. Meanwhile, Marleen Veldhuis and Federica Pellegrini set world records Monday, bringing to six the number of world marks lowered at the European swimming championships. Alain Bernard of France, who set three records on consecutive nights, fell just short of grabbing his fourth when he won the men's 50-meter freestyle. Veldhuis brought the sold-out crowd at the National Swim Center to its feet as she won the 50 freestyle in 24.09 seconds to lower the record of 24.13 set by Inge de Bruijn of the Netherlands at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. "I'm now the fastest woman in the water, long and short course. It is fantastic to compete in front of a home crowd," Veldhuis said. Veldhuis led a Dutch 1-2 in the race, with Hinkelien Schreuder finishing exactly half a second back. Therese Alshammar of Sweden was third in 24.71. Pellegrini, disqualified for a false start in the 200 freestyle heats, bounced back to win the 400 freestyle title in 4:01.53, easily beating the old world mark of 4:02.13 set two years ago by Laure Manaudou of France. "Of course I was a bit upset because of my disqualification in the 200 free," she said. "Today I desperately wanted to win gold, but didn't at all reckon with such a time." Coralie Balmy of France was second in 4:04.15 and Camelia Potec of Romania was third in 4:05.62. Immediately after Veldhuis' victory, Bernard surged to victory in the men's 50 freestyle. The 24-year-old Frenchman finished in 21.66, outside the world mark of 21.50 he set Sunday in the semifinals. On Friday and Saturday, Bernard twice lowered the 100 freestyle record as he won his first European title.