Hafnaoui, El Kamash Scratch U.S. Open Due To Illness

Top seed Ahmed Hafnaoui and third-ranked Marwan El Kamash were both notable scratches out of the men’s 800 freestyle on the opening night of the U.S. Open on Wednesday, and it has now been learned that both swimmers have dropped out of the meet due to illness.

Hafnaoui, the reigning world champion in the 800 free, is dealing with an upper respiratory infection and is on antibiotics, according to his coach at The Swim Team (TST), Mark Schubert.

El Kamash, who also trains out of TST, confirmed with SwimSwam that he has been hospitalized in Egypt due to food poisoning, which came after he raced at the Egyptian National Championships.

In addition to the 800 free, which was won on Wednesday by Ohio State’s Charlie Clark, Hafnaoui was coming into the U.S. Open as the top seed in the men’s 400 free and 1500 free.

The Tunisian native is the reigning Olympic champion in the 400 free and the current world champion in the 1500 free.

Hafnaoui, 20, was in the midst of his freshman year at Indiana University, competing for the Hoosiers as recently as Oct. 25, but is no longer listed on the team roster. Earlier this month he was confirmed to have made the move to TST, though it’s unclear whether or not it’s a permanent move.

El Kamash, 30, was seeded fourth in the 1500 free and ninth in the 400 free. At the 2023 World Championships, the former Indiana Hoosier finished ninth in the 1500 free, 10th in the 800 free and 15th in the 400 free.

While Hafnaoui will be eyeing his Tunisian second Olympic team and a defense of his 400 free title next summer in Paris, El Kamash is in pursuit of his third consecutive appearance at the Games, having represented Egpyt at both Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020.

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2 months ago

I don’t understand why he is training in the USA. He had ssuccess traing outside of the USA. He is not a college student or seeking higher education so why is he here.

Reply to  Anonymous
2 months ago

If you’re referring to Hafnaoui, as far as anyone has told us, he is still enrolled at Indiana.

Post-COVID, attending a college doesn’t mean being physically present on campus (which was true before COVID but is even more true now). It’s also possible that people are fudging the truth, because most of those explanations have been surrounded by lots of qualifier words (nobody is saying “Ahmed is still taking classes at Indiana and attending virtually from California”).

Reply to  Braden Keith
2 months ago

Student visa only allows 0-1 online class per semester but he is allowed to take a leave of absence from school. I was just curious about what motivated him to leave his training program that took him to the gold medal

Last edited 2 months ago by Anonymous
2 months ago


2 months ago

*cough* *cough* I’m sick

Reply to  Queens
2 months ago

sick of <fill in the blank>

2 months ago

“Karma for quitting on IU”

– IU fans, probably

Reply to  Andrew
2 months ago

Karma for supporting a terror organization

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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