Toumarkin breaks national 200m, backstroke record

Yakov Toumarkin is heading to next summer's London Olympics.

Yakov Toumarkin (photo credit: REUTERS)
Yakov Toumarkin
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Yakov Toumarkin proved why he is widely regarded as the future star of Israeli swimming on Thursday, securing his place at next summer’s London Olympics with a new national record in the 200 meter backstroke at the World Championships in Shanghai.
The 19-year-old clocked a time of 1:58.21 minutes in the morning heats to eclipse Guy Barnea’s Israeli record by 78 hundredths of a second and advance to the semifinals from 11th place.
However, Toumarkin, who won gold and bronze medals at the European Junior Swimming Championships last July before also claiming two silver medals at the Youth Olympics in Singapore the following month, couldn’t repeat his heroics in the evening semis, touching the wall after 1:59.92 for 16th position overall.
Also on Thursday, Ryan Lochte became the first swimmer to break a long course world record since controversial polyurethane swimsuits were banned last year, while James Magnussen ended a far longer Australian wait.
Lochte, pushed every stroke of the way, managed to hold off compatriot and Olympic champion Michael Phelps in the men’s 200 meter individual medley and break his own record in one minute 54 seconds flat.
The 26-year-old’s performance was 0.10 faster than the time he set at the Rome world championships in 2009. Phelps was a fingertip behind in 1:54.16.
While Lochte and Phelps brought the crowd to their feet in the Oriental Sports Centre, millions of Australians were surely on theirs shortly afterwards as 20-year-old Magnussen ended the country’s 43-year wait for the blue riband men’s 100 freestyle title.
Australia had not won the title in a global championships since Mike Wenden took Olympic gold in Mexico City in 1968, and had never won it at a world championships, which began in 1973.
Reuters contributed to this report.