Fast Times on Second Day of Israeli Nationals, Despite Tight Security -- March 14, 2002
By Phillip Whitten
KIBBUTZ GIVAT HAIM, Israel, March 14. THE second day of the Israeli Short Course Nationals saw fast times, as swimmers do what they do best -- swim -- despite increased tension and heightened security due to attacks by Palestinian terrorists.
The meet is being held at Kibbutz Givat Haim's ancient 25-meter pool, a facility that had seen better days on the day it first opened. Anyone who can swim a quality time in this facility has a much faster swim inside him- or herself when given the chance to swim in a state-of-the-art facility.
Interestingly, Givat Haim is the site where coach Gershon Shefa, a Masters world champion in his own right, has been training a promising young Palestinian swim coach for the past several years.
The championship meet is being covered for swiminfo by our Israeli correspondent, Dr. Buky Chase, a professor at the world-renowned Wingate Institute and former Technical Director for Israeli swimming. He reports that despite tight security, the stands are filled and "the atmosphere's great."
The national record in the women's 100 meter freestyle changed hands twice today. In the morning heats, Vered Borochovski broke Ania Gostamelski's mark set just last night, clocking 56.27 seconds. In the evening, Borochovski lowered her time to 56.07, but it wasn't fast enough. Gostamelski took her record back, becoming the first Israeli woman to crack 56 seconds with her 55.94. Maya Finkler was third in 57.25.
Taking part in this championship is Team Slovenia headed by Peter Mankoc, world record holder in the 100m IM. Mankoc won the men's 100 free today in 49.37 seconds. Israeli's Eithan Urbach, an Olympic backstroker, was second in 50.46.
In other highlights: Israel's Yoav Gath won the 200m backstroke in 1:55.46, well ahead of Slovenia's Blaz Medvesek in 1:59.78.
Former University of Texas swimmer, Miki Halika, took the 400 IM in 4:17.03.