Even now a few months into the 2012-2013 season, pieces are still settling into place that will have a major impact on the final standings come March. Dave Salo and the USC Trojans have signed an Israeli backstroker named Yakov Toumarkin who is as big of an international difference maker as there is at his age. He is expected to join the squad in January.
Toumarkin exploded at May’s long course European Championships to steal a spot on the Israeli Olympic Team in their best discipline: the backstrokes. There, he swam a 54.1 in the 100 back and a 1:57.3 in the 200 back, which scored him a pair of bronze medals. He has also been a 2:01.4 in the 200 IM.
USC already has a great backstroker in Alex Lendrum, whom Toumarkin will join in their training group, but he specializes in the 200. Toumarkin has the speed to be a game-changer in the medley relays: his times convert to 46-low and a 1:40 in the 100 and 200 backstrokes. Those should both make him an A-Finalist at NCAA’s.
Even as a mid-season entry and a freshman, Toumarkin (who is pretty good in short course meters, though not yet as good as long course) should make at least a 40-point impact on USC. With Vlad Morozov swimming as well as ever at the European Championships, and a few different options on their breaststroke and butterfly legs, USC’s medley relays look top-5 worthy right now.
Toumarkin didn’t swim at the European Championships in order to preserve his ability to join USC in January. This is the second-straight season that USC has added a mid-season surprise, as Cristian Quintero had a great year after joining mid-year in 2011-2012.