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Israeli swimmer star Gorbenko wins third gold at European Aquatics Championships

Anastasia Gorbenko wins the gold medal at the European Championships (Photo: Simona Castervillari/Swimming Association)

The Israeli swimming star Anastasia Gorbenko secured her third gold medal on Wednesday at the LEN European Aquatics Championships in Belgrade, Serbia.

Gorbenko won the 400-meter individual medley with an impressive time of 4:36.05 minutes. She had previously won gold medals with the women’s and mixed relay teams.

This victory marks the first time in her career that Gorbenko has won gold in the 400-meter individual medley category at a European Championship.

"It was a very exciting swimming race, not boring at all; there was a bit of a battle, and I felt the pressure toward the end," Gorbenko said after her victory.

"I am pleased that I managed to win, and I think I still have room for improvement in the coming month. I look forward to getting back to hard work. Currently, I am training between the races, and swimming a lot, and I hope it pays off in the next month. I want to thank everyone who supported and cheered from Israel," she added.

Gorbenko is no stranger to gold victories despite being only 20 years old. In 2021, she made history by winning two gold medals at the World Championships in Abu Dhabi, marking the first time an Israeli swimmer had achieved gold at this prestigious international competition.

“I’m really happy. This is my best time ever. I’m enjoying it here, having fun and this is already my second gold medal – it’s incredible!” a happy Gorbenko said.

In August 2022, she won a gold medal in the 200-meter "Individual Medley" at the European Aquatics in Rome, Italy during what she described as a challenging time.

“The season wasn't easy, especially mentally. I had a lot of crises and I went through a lot of stuff, but last month I set myself the goal of keeping my place, and I'm proud of myself that I did it,” Gorbenko said.

“At the end of the day, it’s something that no female [Israeli] swimmer has done before, and it’s fun to be the first, and I hope there will be more in the future,” she added.

Born in the northern city of Haifa to immigrant parents from Ukraine, Gorbenko is considered the greatest swimmer in Israeli history and one of the best swimmers in the world in her categories, with no less than nine Israeli records.

In February, Gorbenko won a silver medal at the World Championship games in Qatar, despite facing boos from parts of the crowd. She told reporters that she focused on the sport and ignored the negativity.

“I’ve been here a week, I heard all these noises but I’m with earplugs. I’m in my zone. I’m here to do what I love to do which is sports,” Gorbenko said. “I’m here to represent my country…And I’m doing this with the Israeli flag and I’m proud of that. And whoever doesn’t like it, it’s just not my problem.”

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

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