Aquatics: A good schooling in Singapore

With India’s top two swimmers enjoying tremendous success in the lead-up to the Games, a couple of medals may come their way.

Raising the bar: Virdhawal Khade beat Olympic champion Joseph Schooling to the 100m freestyle gold medal at the Singapore championships in June.   -  S. Mahinsha

India has so far won nine medals in swimming at the Asian Games — one gold, two silver and six bronze — but only two of them have come in the last seven editions of the quadrennial event: Virdhawal Khade’s bronze at the 2010 Guangzhou edition and Sandeep Sejwal’s bronze in 2014 in Incheon.

This year, the country is sending one of the strongest aquatics teams — including one diver — that it has fielded for the continental competition. The squad of 10 swimmers and one diver, with a mix of experience and youth, is led by Khade, Sejwal, Srihari Nataraj, who made a splash at the Khelo India Games, and promising talent Sajan Prakash. While the Swimming Federation of India had initially named a water polo team, too, it failed to make the final list approved by the Indian Olympic Association.

Khade has raised expectations by beating Olympic champion Joseph Schooling to the 100m freestyle gold medal at the Singapore National Swimming Championships in June, where he ended up with two gold and three bronze medals. Meanwhile, Sejwal has been in the best of form, winning two gold and one bronze medal in Singapore. With India’s top two swimmers enjoying tremendous success in the lead-up to the Games, a couple of medals may come its way.

SQUAD

Swimming: Virdhawal Khade, Sandeep Sejwal, Sajan Prakash, Srihari Nataraj, Advait Page, Aaron Agnel D'Souza, Anshul Kothari, Arvind Mani, Saurabh Sangvekar, Avinash Mani and Neel Roy

Diving: Siddharth Pardeshi