Anastasia Gorbenko Sinks 3 Israel Records, Hits Another Olympic “A” Cut

Israel National Championships + Olympic Trials

  • June 11-14, 2021
  • Wingate Institute, Netanya, Israel
  • 50 meters (LCM)
  • Prelims/Finals, Olympic qualifying event
  • Day 2 live video
  • Full Results

Israeli 17-year old Anastasia Gorbenko has been on a collision course with Tokyo from a young age and the prophecies are coming to fruition already this week in Netanya, where on day 1 of the Olympic Trials she swam 3 Israeli Records.

This week is the penultimate chance for swimmers to qualify for the Olympic Games, with one more shot at the Sette Colli Trophy meet later this month in Rome. Swimmers must hit the FINA “A” cut to be selected, unless they are chosen to race on relays.

Gorbenko’s Friday exploits include twice clearing the national record in the 200 breaststroke: once in prelims with a 2:28.38 and once in finals with a 2:25.20.

Both swims clipped her previous National Record of 2:28.78 done in the United States in 2019 at the Speedo Grand Challenge meet in Irvine.

While her 3-and-a-half second demolition of the former record means she was better, ultimately, in almost every phase of the race, what really stood out was the two second improvement over the first 50 meters. She did that without really losing much on her last 50, too, which must be an indicator of improved technique and training.

Gorbenko Gorbenko Gorbenko
Former National Record (2019) Prelims Record Finals Record
50m 35.23 33.85 33.24
100m 37.93 37.82 36.96
150m 38.27 38.64 37.40
200m 37.35 38.70 37.60
Final Time 2:28.78 2:28.38 2:25.20

Later in the session, Gorbenko also swam a 25.03 to win the 50 free, beating out Andi Murez (25.30) and in the process snapping Murez’s National Record of 25.11.

Gorbenko’s previous best time, done in December in this same pool, was 25.23.

With still 3 more days of racing remaining in Netanya, Gorbenko now has Olympic “A” standards in 5 events, with the 200 breast finals swim joining that list, and Olympic “B” standards in 4 events. Her primary race for the Olympics will be the 200 IM, where she’s been 2:09.99, but she has the versatility to add almost any other race of the Olympic schedule to that.

Two weeks ago, Gorbenko won the European Championship in the 200 IM.

In the 50 free, behind Gorbenko and Murez was Zohar Shikler in 3rd in 25.42 and Daria Golovati in 4th in 25.82. Golovati’s swim broke the National Record for 16-year olds. Also in that event, Shain Goland swam 26.62, to break the National Record for 14-year olds.

Gorbenko wasn’t the only swimmer performing well on day 1 either – several other best times from top names, with one other FINA “A” cut hit.

Meiron Cheruti won the men’s 50 free in 21.96, which is the second time in his career he’s been under 22 seconds. His best time is a 21.87 from the 2019 Israel National Championships. That also dips under the FINA “A” standard in the event.

The next-closest was Aviv Barzali in the women’s 200 backstroke. She knocked over six-tenths off her previous best time to win the race in 2:10.94. That left her just .08 seconds away from Gorbenko’s National Record in the event and half-a-second shy of the Olympic “A” standard.

Other Big Swims on Day 1:

  • Ron Polonsky swam a personal best in the men’s 200 breaststroke of 2:12.49, which makes him the second-fastest in Israeli history behind Tom Be’eri’s 2008 National Record of 2:11.44. That swim is a big drop from his previous best time of 2:14.22 done in December 2019. His primary events are the IMs, so that big breaststroke drop is a positive foreshadowing of his specialty races later in the meet, including the 200 IM where he has previously hit an Olympic “A” cut. Polonsky is expected to join the Stanford Cardinal in the United States next season.
  • In the men’s 200 backstroke, the winner was David Grechik, who swam 1:59.79 to win the race by more than four seconds. For Grechik, who turns 20 this year, that was his first time under two minutes in the race: he was 2:00.4 in April of this year. In total over the last 7 months, he’s improved his time by about 2 seconds in this race.

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1 year ago

Is she a professional or an amateur (who is possibly considering NCAA swimming)?

(How did I manage to spell my own screen name wrong? 🤦‍♂️)

Last edited 1 year ago by thezwimmery
1 year ago

Gorbenko is a stud. Hoping more swimmers join the team. They have this meet and then the Sette Colli in Rome later this month.

Bruce Mirvis
Reply to  Swimmer
1 year ago

You do not know the meaning of the english word “stud” don’t use it.
It is always applied to me and never to women. Learn English first before you write in it.

Reply to  Bruce Mirvis
1 year ago

Maybe check your typos first..

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Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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