Indiana sophomore Ali Khalafalla showed on Thursday morning that all of the headlines in Egyptian swimming in the last three years haven’t come from the distance group. In prelims of the 2015 Hoosierland Invite, swimming in long course meters, the Egyptian National swam a 22.67 lifetime best in the 50 free, which leaves him just four-tenths of a second shy of a legendary National Record.
The meet is effectively a prelims-finals dual between Indiana and Cincinnati.
Tamer Ali Zinhorn Hamed, a two-time Egyptian Olympian, broke the National Record in 1995, swimming a 22.25. Khalafalla is now just .42 seconds short of that record, and at only 19-years old, still has plenty of time in his improvement arc to make it.
The record is by far the oldest individual Egyptian Record at the senior level, and one of only 10 still standing across all age groups of Egyptian swimming from prior to the turn of the century. The next-oldest is the women’s 200 free, which has stood since the year 2000.
By modern standards, a 22-year old record is ancient, and speaks to the cyclical history of Egyptian swimming. By comparison, the oldest American Record in long course meters is Katie Hoff’s 4:31.12 in the 400 IM from the 2008 Olympic Trials.
While Hamed never came close to an Olympic semi-final, were he able to prove his best time a year later at the 1996 Olympic games, he would’ve wound up with a silver medal.
Meanwhile, Egyptian distance swimmers Akram Ahmed and Marwan el Kamash have been trading distance freestyle records while training at the University of South Carolina; and Farida Osman is breaking women’s sprint records at Cal, among other records. Egypt set 8 National Records at the recent World Championships, which was more than any other nation.
Other prelims highlights:
- 400 free – Jackson Miller swam 3:53.59, a two-second improvement on his lifetime best done in 2012 when he was only 17.
- Cincinnati’s Jackie Keire topped prelims of the women’s 50 free in 26.04.