World Top-20 Sprinter and Israeli Record-Holder, Ziv Kalontarov, Signs with Auburn

18-year-old Ziv Kalontarov has signed an NLI to swim for Auburn University beginning in September 2015. Kalontarov became the fastest Israeli sprinter in history on June 27 when he won the 50 free at the 2015 European Games in Baku (watch the race here). His 22.16 also put him solidly in the top-20 in the world so far this season:

2014-2015 LCM Men 50 Free

2Nathan
ADRIAN
USA21.3708/07
3Caleb
DRESSEL
USA21.5308/08
4Bruno
FRATUS
BRA21.5508/08
5Vladimir
MOROZOV
RUS21.5608/08
6Josh
SCHNEIDER
USA21.8008/12
7Evgeny
SEDOV
RUS21.8408/12
7Cesar
CIELO
BRA21.8404/08
9Marco
ORSI
ITA21.8608/07
9Andrii
GOVOROV
UKR21.8608/08
11Cullen
JONES
USA21.8708/08
11Kristian
GKOLOMEEV
GRE21.8708/07
13Benjamin
PROUD
GBR21.8808/07
14Krisztian
TAKACS
HUN21.8906/30
15Katsumi
NAKAMURA
JPN21.9006/14
16James
MAGNUSSEN
AUS21.9804/09
16Anthony
ERVIN
USA21.9808/07
18Ari-Pekka
Liukkonen
FIN21.9903/22
19Andrey
GRECHIN
RUS22.0104/19
20Cameron
McEVOY
AUS22.0304/09
View Top 27»

Kalontarov could be Auburn’s answer to Alabama’s Kristian Gkolomeev, the 2014 NCAA Champion in the 50 free, which should make next year’s SEC Championships all that much more exciting. Granted, the difference between a long-course 50 free and a short-course 50 free is one flip turn, but still, Kalontarov’s 22.16 translates to a 19-low (19.24 on the Speedo Time Converter). The Tigers had five sub-20s last season, none of whom graduated:

  • Kyle Darmody, 19.33, NCAAs
  • Arthur Mendes, 19.43, NCAAs
  • Jacob Molacek, 19.44, SECs
  • Michael Duderstadt, 19.47, NCAAs
  • Peter Holoda, 19.68, NCAAs

Kalontarov, who comes from Rishon Lezion in Israel, had a lifetime-best of 22.80 headed into Baku. With a pair of 22.6s in heats and semis, he exploded in finals, coming within .10 of the European junior record. Auburn historically has the NCAA’s top sprint freestyle program, but that’s a sprint group that’s been in rebuild-mode recently, including no A-finalists in the 50 free at either of the last two NCAA Championships. Still, the Tigers have depth, and finished 3rd in the 200 yard free relay last season despite no top-8 finishers. With Kalontarov joining the junior Darmody at the top of this group, the Tigers will once again compete for the NCAA title in that event in 2016.

 

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Auburn Swim Fan

A huge pick up for the Auburn Tigers! Can’t wait to see the Men’s 2015 Class Rating once it’s released. I sense an SEC Title in the near future. Auburn is back!!!

Fortune Teller

Maybe under the new staff they’ll get back to their winning ways but definitely not under Mr. Hawke

#SWERVE

You’re probably some salty old swimmer that got beat a few times by Auburn like you deserved. War Damn Eagle, my friend.

#SVG

That was absolutely savage my friend

weirdo

Swerve, Or maybe he is a former AU swimmer under Marsh when they won all the time? And has a hard time watching the women’s team go downhill quickly and the men go away slowly.

Genie in a bottle

It’s a shame… you’ve probably never even gotten the chance to meet Brett Hawke. Brett has energy on deck like no other. Sure he’s had his ups and downs, as any program has. But it’s his character which is helping to build this YOUNG Auburn team. You’ll be crying behind your computer in eight months when the Auburn men come away with the SEC Championship. War Eagle!

weirdo

Used to be NCAA titles and now you are dreaming of only SEC titles?

Reality

Gotta take it one step at a time

Jdb

WAR EAGLE! Great pickup for Auburn. Excited to see the season as they are a young team on their way back up.

bobo gigi

Auburn is a place where foreign sprinters want to train.
Weirdly the best young Americans almost never go there.

SWIMSTYLE

What could the reason be ?

Lack of yardage perhaps ?

bobo gigi

I have no idea.
But I’ve always found that very strange.

#SWERVE

Take a look at the recruiting class before you comment. There are quite a few excellent Americans on the list.

About Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant is the mother of four daughters, all of whom swim/swam in college. With an undergraduate degree from Princeton (where she was an all-Ivy tennis player) and an MBA from INSEAD, she worked for many years in the financial industry, both in France and the U.S. Anne is currently …

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