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2 golds in 2 days - Israeli team takes gold medal in mixed medley relay at European Aquatics Championship

During victory speech, member of Israeli gold medal team calls to ‘bring the captives home’

Four of Israel’s strongest swimmers won gold in the 400-meter relay on Tuesday evening, June 18, 2024. From left to right: Anastasia Gorbenko, Andrea Murez, Ron Polonsky and Gal Cohen Groumi (Photo: Social Media).

Just one day after the Israeli women’s swim team won gold in the 200-meter freestyle relay at the European Aquatics Championship in Belgrade, Serbia, the Israeli mixed medley relay team won gold in the 400-meter relay on Tuesday evening. 

The team included four of Israel’s male and female swimmers, Anastasia Gorbenko swimming backstroke, Ron Polonsky swimming breaststroke, Gal Cohen Groumi swimming butterfly, and Andrea Murez swimming freestyle.

The team finished the relay race with a time of 3:45.74, just 12 hundredths of a second behind the Polish team, which received a technical disqualification, resulting in the Israeli team taking the gold. 

With this win, the Israeli team has already secured a place in the upcoming Paris Olympics in four relay races. 

Groumi, who also competed in Wednesday morning’s men’s butterfly competition, said, “I think we had an amazing swim; we can give a lot more and it was a great experience and a great general return for Paris.” 

He also spoke about the importance of representing Israel “with dignity” and remembering the captives in Gaza. 

“At these moments it is really important to hear the anthem and show that we are present, it is important for all of us to represent the country with dignity and in the best way possible and we have shown that anything can be done. And most importantly, let them bring the captives home.” 

"I think it was a good start, everyone gave their best tonight and it's exciting to see where we are a month before Paris," 20-year-old Gorbenko said after her win. "I think we still have a lot to give and something to improve for the Olympics.” 

Murez said, “We have an amazing team, it was fun to start with the gold yesterday and continue that today. I knew they would open nicely and that I just needed to close the swim well. It's fun to be back in the pool.” 

The win marked only the fifth time Israel has won a gold medal in the European Championship, and the second time the Israeli national anthem, HaTikvah ("the Hope") would be played within two days. 

Several Israeli swimmers qualified for individual finals in events on Wednesday morning. 

Gorbenko qualified for the final of the 400-meter mixed individual medley after finishing fourth overall, with a time of 4:43.84. The 4x100 freestyle relay team qualified for the final from fifth place with a time of 3:43.76. Groumi advanced to the semifinals in the 100-meter butterfly, finishing sixth overall with 51.94 seconds. Jonathan Yitzhaki advanced to the semifinals in the 200-meter breaststroke after finishing 14th with a time of 2:15.46. 

The European Aquatics Championship finals will be held on Wednesday evening. 

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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