THE Aussie swim team of 34 junior, open and master athletes will be eyeing off a swag of medals at the Wingate Institute pool at the 19th Maccabiah Games.
The 13 masters, led by six-time Maccabiah competitor Jeff Sher, have high expectations and are hoping to best their very successful 2009 campaign.
“We have a very strong team this year, maybe even better than 2009,” Sher said.
“With such a big group of great swimmers, we’re bound to have success across all divisions.”
Sher will be joined in Israel by 2009 masters competitors Clive Aarons, Trevor Wainstein and Margot Mann.
Off the back of his four gold medals in 2009, Sher believes team-mate Jorian Catzel is the man to beat in Israel. Catzel recently won two gold, two silver and two bronze medals at the 2013 Australian National Masters Championships.
A mixture of experience and youth will see nine strong swimmers, including Paralympian Mark Velik, dive off the blocks for the open team with gold in their sights.
Victorians Marni Burger and Julian Kowal return after dominant displays as juniors in 2009. As the strongest open women’s swimmer, Burger believes it will be tough to better her two gold, two silver and two bronze from the Games four years ago.
“Swimming open is always a lot harder, but the experience I’ve had swimming at a national level will hopefully give me an edge against some of my competitors,” she explained.
Burger will test herself against the best Jewish female swimmers in the world in eight events, including the 50m, 100m 200m and 400m freestyle, the 100m butterfly, the open water 1.5km swim and the relay.
In the men’s division, young gun Kyron Israelsohn is the stand-out performer, coming off a third place finish in the 50m freestyle at the Australian Age Championships last year.
An exciting juniors squad of 12 will feature Zac Freuden and Jordan Hazan, who have both excelled at state level, with Hazan even setting a Victorian record last month in his age group.
Photo: Peter Haskin