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UCLA swimmer Hayley Hacker is in Israel for the 19th Maccabiah Games, which gets underway on Thursday in Jerusalem with the Opening Ceremony. Hacker will be competing in three events, the 50 and 100 Freestyle and the 100 Backstroke.
Hacker's first event is the 100 Free, which will take place on Sunday, July 21. She will also swim in the 100 Back on Tuesday, July 23 and the 50 Free on Wednesday, July 24.
"Maccabiah has been my greatest goal since coming to UCLA, and I am so proud to be representing Team USA in Israel," Hacker said. "I participated in the National Maccabi games a few times in high school, and even then it was incredible to see how athletics and Jewish culture combined. Being able to compete in an international competition is an amazing opportunity. I cannot wait to get back in touch with my Jewish roots, but also to bring home a medal for Team USA."
The Maccabiah Games, known as the "Jewish Olympics", are held in Israel once every four years. This year’s event will bring together more than 9,000 athletes from 77 countries to compete in 38 sporting events. The U.S. has the largest contigent of American Jewish athletes participating with over 1,100.