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4 gold, 2 silver and 1 bronze medal – Israel celebrates historic performance at swimming championship

Star swimmer Gorbenko plays a key role in securing all four of Israel's gold medals.

Ron Polonsky won the silver medal in the mixed 200m medley, June 2024 (Photo: Social media of Israel Swimming Association, Photographer: Simona Castrovillari)

Israel is celebrating the historic performance of its swimming team at the European Aquatics Championships in Belgrade, Serbia, finishing in third place on the medal table with four gold, two silver and one bronze medal on Sunday.

The table was led by Hungary with 10, 9, and 8 medals respectively, before Greece with five gold, eight silver, and four bronze medals.

On the final day of competition, Ron Polonsky won the silver medal in the 200-meter mixed medley, capping off Israel’s best-ever performance in a swimming tournament.

Photo: Screenshot from social media.

“I am happy that I broke my Israeli record, after the previous record I set two years ago at the World Championship, where I missed the final when I finished in ninth place. This time, I also made it to the finals and won a medal,” Polonsky said.

His time was good enough to qualify for the upcoming Olympic Games, where Israel hopes to replicate its stunning performance in a sport in which it has never won an Olympic medal.

Polonsky follows in the footsteps of his sister Leah, who also won a silver medal in the 200-meter individual medley with a personal record time of 2:11.18.

On the same day, Israel’s star swimmer Anastasia Gorbenko secured the fourth Israeli gold by winning the 200-meter individual medley finals.

Gorbenko was involved in all four Israeli gold medals, by winning the 400-meter individual medley, as well as being part of the women’s and mixed relay team wins.

She is now seen as a serious medal contender at the Paris Olympics set to begin next month.

Also on Saturday, Kristian Pitshuguin won a bronze medal in the 50-meter breaststroke final despite rain pouring down on the pool, breaking the Israeli record with a time of 27:02.

The Israeli team’s impressive performance amid the ongoing war with Hamas and a looming war with Hezbollah gives reason to hope it can replicate its showing during the upcoming Olympics, and continue to provide pride and relief to their war-weary country.

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

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