Israel's Gloushkov Reaches Solo Finals

Israeli synchronized swimmer Anastasia Gloushkov yesterday reached the solo synchronized swimming finals in the European championship in the Dutch city of Eindhoven.

Gloushkov was ranked sixth in the contest, the highest place an Israeli has ever come, with an average score of 89.900 points. Gloushkov will also be participating in the duet competition with one of two fellow Israelis, Inna Joffe or Vika Yirmolinskaya.

Unlike the solo contest, the Olympics host a duet competition. To qualify for the 2008 games in Beijing, the Israeli synchronized swimming team must finish among the top 8 from among 16 teams participating in the tourney.

The other countries participating in the tourney include Italy, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands and Poland.

Monday splashdown

The rest of the 17-strong Israeli team will begin competing on Monday morning. Two Israeli swimmers, Guy Barnea and Itai Chama, have already qualified for the Olympics.

The Israeli Swimming Associationestimates that an additional four to six swimmers taking part in the tourney will secure spots for Beijing.

Israeli veteran coach Leonid Kaufman added: "We're very optimistic that we'll obtain our goals. We're going to the tournament to break records."