Swimming / European Championships / Guy Barnea Loses Medal by a Stroke

Guy Barnea missed a shot to win a medal in the 50-meter backstroke at the European swimming championships in Eindhoven, Netherlands, over the weekend.

After qualifying for the final with the best result, he had to settle for fourth place with a time of 25.48 seconds, just four one-hundredths of a second behind third place, bronze medal winner Lubos Krizko of Slovakia.

Tonight, Micky Malul will compete in the 50-meter breaststroke final after finishing seventh in the semifinals with a result of 28.27 seconds. Malul is one of the world's best in this sprint, but he will not be at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing because it is a non-Olympic event.

Itai Chama's place at the Beijing Games is finally assured. Even though Chama was the first Israeli swimmer to meet the Olympic criteria, his inconsistency led to a battle with Ehud Segal in the 200-meter backstroke. Both qualified for the semifinals. Chama finished in 15th place (2:03.48 minutes), but Segal, who finished one place and .39 seconds ahead of Chama, did not meet the criteria.

Alon Mendel, a 19 year old, set a new Israeli record in the 100-meter butterfly - 54.10 seconds, and improvement of .15 seconds over the previous record set by Barnea, who did not reach the semifinals in this event.

In the 100-meter freestyle Alain Bernard of France set a new world record with a time of 47.50 seconds in yesterday's final.