Benaim makes a splash in Israel

By Brian Sacks, October 1, 2009

Reut Benaim, 15, triumphed in the Israeli National Championships in Netanya, winning six golds and a silver, and an award for the best age-15 swimmer overall.

Her individual gold medals all came in age-15 events in her preferred stroke, the butterfly. She recorded winning times of 28.8s for 50m, 1:04.04 for 100m and 2:26 for 200m - the 50m time setting a ‘long course’ (50m pool) Swiss Cottage and Camden Club record. Benaim then switched strokes to come fifth in 28.6s in the age-15 50m freestyle.

Benaim, who comes from Swiss Cottage, won other medals in relay events, competing for the Hapoel Yerushalayim club. She was part of the team that set an Israeli record winning the Open 4x100m medley relay, and she also struck gold in the age -15 4x50m medley and 4x50m freestyle relays. Benaim finished with silver in the Open 4x50m medley relay.

Sporting success runs in the family. Benaim’s brother Sagie, mother Mazal and aunt Zehava Shmueli are all Israeli international runners. But such success only comes with hard work. Benaim said: “My weekly schedule includes two morning and six evening pool sessions at Swiss Cottage, where I am coached by Dave Hobbs, and one at the Crystal Palace National Recreation Centre, and also three ‘land’ sessions in which I am running or working out in the gym.”

Benaim’s long-term aim is to compete for Israel in the 2012 Olympics. This summer’s performances indicate that she is well on the way to achieving her goal.

Susan Halter celebrated her 82nd birthday by winning three medals at the European Masters Championships in Cadiz, Spain. Competing in the 80-85-year category, the former Olympian took silver in the 50m backstroke, bronze in the 200m backstroke and 100m freestyle.

Last updated: 4:26pm, October 13 2009