Gal Nevo and Max Jaben qualified yesterday for the Beijing Olympics thanks to their performances at the European swimming championships. No fewer than seven Israelis appeared yesterday on the evening program in Eindhoven, Netherlands. Two of them were in the finals, and five made the semifinals.
The 20-year old Nevo had to finish in the top 12 and did so with an Isareli record of 2:02.43 in the 200-meter individual medley. He actually took back the record from Meir Hatzbani who had set it yesterday morning with a time of 2:02.77. In the semifinal he lagged behind Nevo with a time of 2:03.43.
Jaben, 23, won the Maccabiah three years ago in the 400-meter individual medley and recently immigrated to Israel. He is considered less well known than Shai Livnat, but in the semifinal yesterday he finished 11th with an Israeli record of 1:48.49. Livnat, who also appeared in the semifinal, finished 11 hundredths of a second behind but only in 15th place. Because the 200-meter freestyle is Livnat's strong card, his chances of reaching Beijing are now marginal. Nimrod Shapira Bar On finished in 17th place with a time of 1:49.98.
Another swimmer who missed her mark yesterday was Anna Gostomelsky, who finished in 13th place in the 100-meter freestyle with a time of 56.11 seconds, a tenth of a second behind 12th place. Gostomelsky, who is competing in six events, will try to qualify for the Olympics in another event. Her best chance is in the 100-meter backstroke.
Olympic qualifications aside, the other highlight was the fact that two Israelis made the finals. Guy Barnea did not match his performance in the preliminary heats and finished seventh in the 100-meter backstroke final with a time of 55.34 seconds. Austrian Markus Rogan won with a time of 54.03 seconds. Amit Ivri also placed seventh in the women's 50-meter butterfly final with a time of 27.19 seconds. Chantal Groot of the Netherlands won that race with a 26.03 second performance.
Two other Israelis who competed yesterday were Yulia Benech and Anastasia Korotkov. Benech who topped the previous Israeli record in the 100-meter breaststroke by 45 hundredths of a second with a time of 1:11.13. That showing gave her 21st place. Korotkov finished in 24th place with a time of 1:11.35.
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