Setting his personal mark of 24.73 seconds, Jonathan Koplev won Israel’s first gold medal in the 50 meter backstroke relay at the European Championships on Thursday.
“This is unbelievably exciting. I knew he could do it – he lived up to all of our expectations and more,” his trainer Hanan Sterling said.
Koplev was joined by Italy’s Mirco Di Tora, who won the silver medal, and fellow Israeli Guy Barnea, who won bronze, on the medal podium.
The European Championships are considered one of the world’s leading swimming events leading up to the summer olympics, which will take place in London later this year. Israel is currently in 3rd place among the participating countries at the Euro Championships, taking place in Hungary.
Koplev will be part of Israel’s 4X100 relay team, which will attempt to quality for the London games.