It was a bitter-sweet experience for Virdhawal Khade on the second day of the 10th Asian Age Group Swimming Championship here on Wednesday.

He clinched the gold in his pet event, 50m freestyle, and came within 0.04 seconds of matching the meet record that he set as a teenager way back in 2009.

But his dream of bettering his personal best of 22.43 to inch closer to the A-mark Olympic Qualifying Time (22.01) was shattered as he could come home only in 22:59.

“Very disappointed,” Khade said later. “I should have done way better. I got too excited and tried to power through. I got a brilliant start I feel, the start I had trained for. Usually I pull off after the 25m, but it just didn’t happen because I ruined my technique due to over excitement.”

The 28-year-old still has time till June 29, 2020 to get the A-mark. But the competition in Bengaluru was the one he had targeted and had warmed up well for by clocking 22.44 at the Senior Nationals in Bhopal earlier this month.

“I think the reason I did so well in Bhopal was that I was under heavy training and even if I got excited, I didn't really have the energy to put too much strength [into racing]. But here, everything went wrong. I put all of my strength into every stroke and my timing and technique just went off.”

Silver for Shoan Ganguly

However, for 14-year-old Shoan Ganguly, his maiden Age Group Championship continued to get better as he added a silver to the gold and two silvers he had won on the opening day.

In the Group II boys’ 400 freestyle, he set a new personal best by finishing in 4:07.21. Later in the evening, he came fourth in 200m butterfly, but called it his favourite performance.


Shoan Ganguly competes in the 200m butterfly event.


“It will now push me to do better the next time,” Ganguly said later. “This is my first Asian meet. I just wanted to give my best time. Pradeep [Kumar] sir trained us for 4 to 5 weeks. The camp was a bit hard but good. He told me that the competition will be very hard. [But] it was not as hard as expected.”

Elsewhere, Kushagra Rawat added a third gold by winning the 1500m freestyle in 15:41.54. The two record-breaking performances of the day came from Thai swimmer Srisa Ard Jenjira, who lowered the meet’s best timings in the women’s 50m freestyle and breaststroke events.