Soon-To-Be Israeli Olympian Martin Kartavi Commits to North Carolina for 2024

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Soon-to-be Israeli Olympic swimmer Martin Kartavi will head stateside after Paris next month to join the University of North Carolina men’s program, highlighting what head coach Mark Gangloff called “the strongest recruiting class we’ve had in my five years at UNC.”

Kartavi is a sprint specialist who broke 50 seconds in the 100 free (49.99) for the first time at the Rotterdam Qualification Meet late last year. The 20-year-old punched his ticket to Paris with a personal-best 50 free time of 21.90 in January, just under the Olympic ‘A’ cut of 21.96.

Kartavi didn’t race at any major international meets last summer, but he did bring home bronze medals in the 50 free at the European Junior Championships in both 2021 (22.92) and 2022 (22.57).

Kartavi’s Best LCM Times (Converted to SCY)

  • 50 free – 21.90 (19.00)
  • 100 free – 49.99 (43.59)
  • 50 fly – 23.85 (20.85)
  • 100 fly – 54.28 (47.63)

Kartavi’s best converted sprint freestyle times would have placed him 7th in the 50 free at the 2024 ACC Championships in February, where the Tar Heels didn’t boast a single scorer in the event (Boyd Poelke barely missed the C-final at 19.73). His best converted 100 free time is just outside of ACC scoring range (43.31).

Kartavi won’t be the only Israeli Olympian in Chapel Hill next season. He will be joined by Adam Maraana, a backstroker who qualified for the Paris Olympics last week with his 100 back victory at the Israeli Olympic Trials. The 20-year-old matched the seven-year-old national record with a winning time of 53.60 and snuck under the Olympic ‘A’ cut of 53.74, becoming the first Arab to represent Israel at the Olympics since 1976 — and the first ever in the sport of swimming.

Maraana’s best converted 100 back time is just outside of ACC scoring range (47.19) based on February’s conference championship results.

“This is a great milestone for our program,” said Gangloff, who is entering his sixth season at the helm of the Tar Heels’ combined program.

UNC’s 2024 men’s recruiting class features a dozen prospects, including four international talents. Puerto Rican breaststroker Xavier Ruiz Flores and Canadian junior national team diver Chris Booler join Kartavi and Maraana along with P.J. Foy, Nate Holm, Sean Setzer, Brady Begin, James Bennison, JT Schmid, and Eddie Jin.

The Tar Heel men placed 8th out of 11 teams at the 2024 ACC Championships in February. The ACC will only get more competitive next season with Cal, Stanford, and SMU joining the conference from the Pac-12 this summer.

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1 month ago

19.00 LOL

Reply to  PVK
1 month ago

One would say that 21.9 is more important and definitely more impressive

Reply to  Swammer
1 month ago

That’s what I’m getting at. The conversion is simply ridiculous.

1 month ago

How do you say “no-show classes” in Hebrew?

Sick of Hmm
Reply to  Hmm
1 month ago

The UNC Hate boner is unreal. Don’t you have anything better to do with your time?

Reply to  Sick of Hmm
1 month ago

It is well-earned. They spent over 30 years committing academic fraud….

1 month ago

Dirt cheap

This Guy
1 month ago

21.9 50 free LCM is legit speed! Looking forward to what he can do

About Riley Overend

Riley is an associate editor interested in the stories taking place outside of the pool just as much as the drama between the lane lines. A 2019 graduate of Boston College, he arrived at SwimSwam in April of 2022 after three years as a sports reporter and sports editor at newspapers …

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