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Finkler, Ayalon Are Outstanding at Israeli Championshsips -- August 1, 2004

By Frankie Sachs

JERUSALEM, August 1. MAYA Finkler and Shilo Ayalon were crowned the "Most Outstanding Swimmers" at the Israeli Swimming Championships.

Finkler collected five gold medals and set an Israeli record over the weekend.

Finkler swam the 200-meter freestyle in 2:03.56 on Friday, an improvement of 0.07 seconds over Anna Gostomelsky's six-year old record. On Saturday, she added another medal when she edged Gostomelsky in the 50-m. freestyle.

Ayalon, an All-American at Georgia Tech, who improved on his Israeli mark in the 800-m. on the opening day of competition, was named "Most Outstanding" among the men. He won his second gold of the five-day event on Saturday with a time of 15:36.37 in the 1,500-m.

Another Israeli record was equaled, as young Mickey Malul swam the 50-m.breaststroke in 28.90 on Friday morning. His time matched Vadim Alexeiv's 10-year old record. Unfortunately for the 19-year-old, he was unable to reproduce the time in the finals on Friday evening. Malul came in second (29.37), just behind new champ Eran Zussman.

Finkler, who will join fellow national team member Inbal Levavi next year at the University of Maryland, won the 50-m. title with a time of 26.44. The Athens-bound Gostomelsky touched the wall in 26.65.

In other weekend results, Mickey Halika won the 200- and 400-m. individual medleys (2:06.30 and 4:25.06); Mona Meron won the women s 50-m. breaststroke final (34.66); Rotem Peled took gold in the women s 100-m. butterfly (1:04.58); Nadav Kohavi won the men s 100-m. butterfly (55.98); and Mor Fleishman was fastest in the women s 800-m. (9:06.15).

--Courtesy The Jerusalem Post