Yakov Toumarkin, Andi Murez Qualify For 2016 Olympics At Israeli Nationals

Yakov Toumarkin

Yakov Toumarkin and Andi Murez kicked off what the Israeli Swimming Federation hopes will be a large roster for the 2016 Olympic Games with automatic qualifying times at the Israeli long course nationals in Netanya this weekend.

Toumarkin competed at the FINA world championships earlier this month, finishing just outside of a spot in the 200 back semifinals with a 1:58.64 for 17th place. The 23-year-old redeemed himself with a 1:55.96 at Israel’s nationals to break his own national record of 1:57.33 from the 2012 Olympics. That gives Toumarkin an automatic qualifying time for the Olympics, and would have placed seventh at worlds. Toumarkin first broke his national record with a 1:57.01 in prelims before blasting through for a new lifetime best in finals.

Murez posted a 54.40 in the 100 free to beat the “A” cut for the Olympics by three hundredths of a second. The swim breaks her former Israeli national record of 54.61 from April’s Israel Swimming Cup., which in turn beat the 55.16 that stood as the national record from 2008 by Anna Gostomelsky. The swim ranks Murez among the top 40 in the world.

Murez’s name might seem familiar to fans of U.S. collegiate swimming. She represented Stanford University well, helping them win a few relay titles recently. Murez has applied for and received Israeli sports citizenship, and will be eligible to compete for Israel this December at the short course European championships and next year’s Olympics. Her last meet representing the United States was the 2013 World University Games, and she competed at the 2014 summer U.S. nationals. Had Murez been able to compete at the FINA world championships last week in Russia, her 54.40 would have placed 12th in prelims. The time would have placed 13th among swims done in semifinals.

Murez became the first Israeli woman under two minutes in the 200 free, winning the national title with a 1:59.01. Meredith Budner previously owned the record with a 2:02.01 from 2011. Murez was also in line to win the 50 free, but she was upset by 18-year-old Zohar Shikler with a 25.30. Shikler nearly beat the Olympic “A” cut of 25.28 as well as the Israeli national record of 25.23 by Gostomelsky at the 2008 Olympics.

Three more national records fell at the meet. Ido Haber won the 400 free with a 3:51.54, just missing the “A” cut for 2016 Olympic qualification by nine tenths of a second. Haber had set the national record fo 3:52.08 at the FINA world championships earlier this month, breaking the second-oldest national record among men: Shai Livnat’s 3:54.32 from 2004.

Guy Kizler won the 800 free with an 8:03.98, beating Shilo Ayalon’s 11-year-old record of 8:06.88. The third record came from Tomer Zamir with a 23.76 in the 50 butterfly, beating Alon Mandel’s 23.90 from 2009.

Three other men each got within a second of national records. Yonatan Basha posted a 1:58.78 in the 200 fly, nearly breaking Gal Nevo’s 1:57.02 from the 2009 world championships and getting within reach of the Olympic “A” cut of 1:56.97.

David Gumborg won the 100 free with a strong 49.62 to nearly beat the Olympic “A” cut of 48.99 and get close to Nimrod Shapira Bar-Or’s national mark of 48.93. Liran Konovalov swam a 1:48.65 in the 200 free, less than a second away from Bar-Or’s national mark of 1:47.78 and the Olympic automatic qualifying time of 1:47.97.

Note: A previous version of this article incorrectly identified Andi Murez as “Andrea Moraz.” Special thanks to Dr. Buky Chass for contributing to this article.

1 comment

  1. Leon Spector

    Liran Konovalov Daniel Kaplan Mark Shperkin avi Avi Cohen