Israel has announced its largest-ever Olympic swimming team for the 2021 Games, bringing 12 pool swimmers, one open water swimmer and two artistic swimmers to Tokyo.
For Rio 2016, Israel brought seven pool swimmers, and at the previous Games in London, it brought four.
Gorbenko has been on a tear over the last few years, and is riding high after winning gold in the women’s 200 individual medley at the European Championships in May.
Toumarkin, who has three individual LC European Championship medals to his name and was an Olympic finalist in the 200 backstroke in London, will also be one of Israel’s two flag bearers at the Opening Ceremonies.
Joining Toumarkin in Tokyo from the 2016 Olympic team will be Andi Murez, a Stanford alumna who specializes in the women’s sprint freestyle events. Aviv Barzelay, a Texas A&M commit, will be the third female on the team, having been added after achieving the FINA ‘B’ cut in the 200 backstroke.
Also qualifying to swim individually in Tokyo were Indiana University’s Tomer Frankel, Stanford commit Ron Polonsky, Michigan commit Gal Cohen Groumi and Israeli record holders Meiron Cheruti, Denis Loktev and Michael Laitarovsky.
South Carolina’s Itay Goldfaden and Arizona’s Daniel Namir were added as relay-only swimmers, with Israel qualified to swim the men’s 4×200 free and the mixed 4×100 medley relays in Tokyo. (The women also qualified to swim the 4×200, but dropped the event.)
FULL ISRAELI POOL SWIMMING ROSTER
- Aviv Barzelay
- Anastasia Gorbenko
- Andi Murez
- Meiron Cheruti
- Tomer Frankel
- Itay Goldfaden
- Gal Cohen Groumi
- Michael Laitarovsky
- Denis Loktev
- Daniel Namir
- Ron Polonsky
- Yakov Toumarkin
Notably joining the team’s coaching staff is David Marsh, who served as the Head Women’s Coach for the United States at the 2016 Olympic Games and was also a U.S. assistant on the men’s side in both 2000 and 2012.
In December 2016, Marsh took on a professional advisory role with the Israeli Swimming Federation, with the goal of preparing athletes for the 2020 Olympic Games.
Marsh is currently the head coach of Team Elite in San Diego, where he’s been working with the likes of Gorbenko and Murez. The eight-time NCAA Coach of the Year notably did not put any swimmers on the U.S. Olympic team this year.
Rounding out the coaching staff alongside Gabrilo and Marsh will be Ehud Segal and Chanan Sterling.
Matan Roditi will be Israel’s first-ever competitor in the Open Water 10k event for the men, while the Artistic Swimming duo of Eden Bleacher and Shelly Bobritsky round out the squad.