Guy Barnea and Jonathan Kopelev finished in the last two places in the final of the 50-meter backstroke events at the World Championships in Barcelona Sunday, stopping the clock at 25.14 and 25.19 seconds respectively. Earlier, Gal Nevo finished only 14th in the 400 meters individual medley, and the Israeli national 4X100 medley relay team finished 16th out of 23, failing to advance to the finals.
Kopelev, who won a gold medal at the 2012 European Aquatics Championships in the same event, told Haaretz: “We were somewhat disappointed, because we didn’t expect to finish seventh and eighth, but all in all, I’m pleased. I believe I had a good championship. Obviously, we were hoping to compete for a medal. With his best score, Guy would have finished in a very high place. We both believed it was possible, but I was a bit excited. I can only add that I hope to be on the podium in two years. This year I took some more time off to recuperate from an appendicitis operation, and it took me some time to get back to form. This doesn’t mean we will take the foot off the gas in the longer distances. We plan work harder, there’s not time to rest. It was my first final, and in general it was an amazing experience.”
Kopelev was also the first swimmer in the Israeli teams medley relay, finishing third. Imri Ganiel, who swam breaststroke finished fifth, while Israel’s butterfly swimmer, Yaakov Tomarkin could not close down the gap. Freestyle swimmer Nimrod Shapira Bar Or also did not succeed in closing down on his rivals and the team stopped the clock at 3:39:31 minutes, three seconds slower that the Israeli record.