Recap: Palestine’s Ahmed Gebrel swims the 400m Free at the Olympics

Palestine’s Ahmed Gebrel swam in Heat 1 of the Men’s 400m Freestyle this Saturday. He placed 3rd in his heat and 27th overall. Though he didn’t qualify for the final round, he did manage to beat his personal best by 9.89 seconds.

Competing in his heat were Mateusz Sawrymowicz from Poland, Mateo de Angulo Velasco from Colombia, and Allan Gutierrez Castro from Honduras. Based on qualifying times alone, Gebrel, in Lane 6, was expected to finish in last.

Gebrel was slow off the starting blocks but that didn’t seem to perturb him too much early in the race. By the 100m split, he was less than one second behind the leader. But he quickly fell to 4th as the fatigue kicked in and he trailed the leader by almost four seconds by the 200m split. He trailed until the very end of the race when he edged Gutierrez Castro by less than a sixth of a second, taking 3rd in the race and setting a new personal record. He finished with a time of 4:08.51.

Below are screenshots of the event footage. For a full replay of the event, click here and begin watching at 53:16.


Ahmed Gebrel’s represents Palestine in Lane 6 of Heat 1 for the 400m Freestyle swim.


Gebrel, in Lane 6, is closest to the bottom of the image.


The swimmers prepare to dive off the starting blocks.


Gebrel, the furthest toward the right, had a slow start off the starting blocks but trails the race leader by only a small margin.


This angle shows how close Gebrel and the three other swimmers are in the first 50m split.


Gebrel trails the leader by 0.40 seconds at the split. He is the closest to the camera in this angle and is seen just after kicking off the wall for the second 50m split.


The race is still close.


Gebrel is in 3rd at the second split. Gutierrez Castro from Honduras is just kicking off the wall.


The two frontrunners are now putting distance between themselves and Gebrel and Gutierrez Castro, now 4th and 3rd, respectively.

An underwater view of Gebrel moments before flipping and completing the final 100 meters of the race.


Gebrel at the moment he touches the wall, just before Gutierrez Castro.


The final standings of the race. None of the swimmers qualified for the final round.

For more information on Ahmed Gebrel, visit his London Olympics 2012 biography page. For a schedule of all the events in which Palestinian athletes are competing, click here.

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