National Swimming C'ships: Sajan dominates 200 medley, Richa keeps winning

Richa Mishra bagged the women's 200m individual medley with a timing of 2:24.70s in National Senior Swimming Championships on Saturday.

Richa Mishra (R) embraces Kenisha Gupta (L) after winning women's 200m Medley in 73rd Glenmark Senior National Aquatic Championships 2019 at Prakash Taran Pushkar in Bhopal on Saturda   -  A. M. Faruqui

“Is that real,” a Bengaluru swimmer asked as the time-board flashed 2:18.46s for Richa Mishra's gold-winning moment in the women's 200m individual medley at the National Senior Swimming Championships here on Saturday evening.

That was more than five seconds faster than Richa's national record of 2:23.62s, set nine years ago, and she is now 36.

“Yes, I was surprised too,” said the Delhi girl, representing Police here, moments later at the Prakash Tarun Pushkar pool.

Well, it wasn't real, it was just the clock playing tricks for the official time, which came a few minutes later, gave Richa's winning time as 2:24.70s.

Richa was pushed hard by Maharashtra's 16-year-old Kenisha Gupta, who trains under Nihar Ameen in Bengaluru, and the senior was quite impressed.

“She has progressed from last year's 2:27 to 2:25 now, it's really amazing,” she said.

READ | Spotlight on Srihari, Virdhawal and Sajan

Richa, a former international who has been swimming at the national level for nearly 25 years, hinted that this could be her last Nationals.

“I think this is going to be my last, I'm honestly tired. But if I stop this, this routine of getting up at 3.45 a.m. and going to the pool, I might go into depression,” said Richa, who has been a gold medallist in the medley event regularly for nearly 15 years.

“If I leave swimming, what will I do, I don't know. I might come next year and do only one event, I'm 36, it's tough now.”

The men's 200 medley lit up the day too with a hot duel between the seasoned Sajan Prakash, Karnataka's Srihari Nataraj and S. Siva. Sajan had taken a healthy lead by the halfway mark and carried it to the finish while Srihari made his move and sneaked past his teammate near the end for the silver.

ALSO READ | Srihari Nataraj and the cost of creating India’s best swimmer

Sajan was close to his national record of 2:05.83, clocking 2:05.89.

“I could have made it faster but I slipped during the turn at the end of the second leg and start of the third,” said the 25-year-old swimmer, who hails from Kerala.

The time also helped Sajan qualify for next month's Asian age-group meet in Bengaluru (qual. mark 2:06.22s).

Also making the cut were Delhi's Kushgra Rawat who won the men's 400m freestyle and Karnataka's S.P. Likith in the men's 50m breasttroke.

LONE RECORD

The day's lone meet record came in the mixed 4x50m relay where Karnataka's Srihari Nataraj, S.P. Likith, Suvana C. Baskar and Deeksha Ramesh clocked 1:50.65s to better Railway's time of 1:51.06.

No dope-testing at National aquatics

The 73 National senior aquatic championships may be a qualification event for next year's Tokyo Olympics and next month's Asian age-group championships but there was no dope-testing on the opening day here.

“They have not come so far but they will be coming, they said they would come,” said a top official of the Swimming Federation of India here on Saturday.

 

The results (all finals):

Men

400m free: 1. Kushagra Rawat (Del) 3:56.95s, 2. A.S. Anand (Ser) 4:01.92, 3. Aaron Fernandes (Mah) 4:04.71.

50m breaststroke: 1. S.P. Likith (Kar) 28.56s, 2. Ansh Arora (UP) 29.38, 3. S. Danush (TN) 29.57.

200m medley: 1. Sajan Prakash (Pol) 2:05.89s, 2. Srihari Nataraj (Kar) 2:06.46, 3. S. Siva (Kar) 2:06.69.

4x200m freestyle relay: 1. Karnataka (7:46.04s), 2. Services (7:49.31), 3. Railway (7:53.52).

 

Women

400m free: 1. Shivani Kataria (Har) 4:27.31s, 2. Shivangi Sarma (Asm) 4:30.55, 3. Khushi Dinesh (Kar) 4:30.80.

50m breaststroke: 1. A.V. Jayaveena (TN) 33.86s, 2. Chahat Arora (Pun) 34.01, 3. Annie Jain (MP) 34.30.

200m medley: 1. Richa Mishra (Pol) 2:24.70s, 2. Kenisha Gupta (Mah) 2:25.31, 3. Apeksha Fernandes (Mah) 2:26.53.

Mixed, 4x50m medley relay: 1. Karnataka (1:50.65s NMR, OR 1:51.06), 2. Maharashtra (1:52.82), 3. Railway (1:54.00).