National Aquatic C'ships: Saloni shines on day four

Saloni Dalal set a new national record in women's 200m breaststroke and also registered the best Indian timing in the event.

This was Saloni Dalal's maiden national title.   -  Manob Chowdhury

Thirteen-year-old Saloni Dalal of Karnataka smashed a 10-year-old national record to claim the women's 200m breaststroke gold medal on the penultimate day of the 70th Glenmark National Aquatics Cat the V. B. B. Stadium here on Tuesday.

Showcasing her fine understanding of the race and presence of mind, Saloni, who was at the second spot behind Harshitha Jayaram at the halfway mark, stepped up her pace in the final 100m to clock 2:44.37 and erase Tejaswani V's 2006 record by 2.12 seconds.

In the process, Saloni also set a new mark for the best Indian timing in the event, held by Sajani Shetty (2:46.39) since the 1997 National Games in Bengaluru. This was the teenager's maiden national title.

“After the first 100m I found Sayani was very close to me and changed my strategy to take longer and quicker strokes in the later half. I wanted to finish the last 100m with a time of 1:21 or 1:22 but I did 1:19,” said an elated Saloni.

Interestingly, all three podium finishers in the race bettered the 10-year-old record set by Tejaswani. Bengal's Sayani Ghosh, who took part in the breststroke event within minutes of clinching the gold medal in women's 400m individual medley, timed 2:45.09 for the silver, while Harshitha of Karnataka registered 2:45.48 for the bronze.

Sayani, who had earlier claimed the 200m individual medley gold, also helped Bengal get the 4x200m freestyle bronze medal. After claiming the top honour in 400m, 200m and 1500m freestyle events, Saurabh Sangvekar won his fourth gold medal by taking the 800m freestyle title. He timed 8:26.99 for another convincing victory.

Railways swimmer Sanu Debnath, who emerged as the champion in 200m individual medley, secured his second gold medal of the meet by winning the 400m medley with 4:36.95.

Aaron D'Souza, who had bagged a silver in 100m backstroke, was the fastest swimmer of the meet. He took the men's 50m freestyle crown with 23.29. D'Souza later joined Sajan Prakash, Sangvekar, D'Souza and Debnath to set a new national record of 7:45.24 and win the 4x200m freestyle gold medal for Railways. Aditi Dhumatkar was the fastest woman, winning the 50m freestyle gold with 26.98.

Results:

Swimming:

Men: Freestyle: 800m: 1. Saurabh Sangvekar (RSPB) 8:26.99, 2. K. Mitesh Manoj (SSCB) 8:35.32, 3. Avinash Mani (Kar) 8:35.73; 50m: 1. Aaron D'Souza (RSPB) 23.29, 2. Anshul Kothari (Guj) 23.31, 3. Sahil Chopra (Pun) 23.53; Breaststroke: Men's 200m: 1. Sandeep Sejwal (RSPB) 2:15.28, 2. Likith S.P. (Kar) 2:19.99, 3. Arun S. (SSCB) 2:21.05; 400m individual medley: 1. Sanu Debnath (RSPB) 4:36.95, 2. T. Emil Robin Singh (TN) 4:39.27, 3. Supriyo Mondal (RSPB) 4:42.14; 4x200m freestyle: 1. RSPB 7:45.24 (NR, previous 7:48.34, RSPB, 2015), 2. SSCB 7:54.52, 3. Karnataka 8:04.68.

Women: Freestyle: 50m: 1. Aditi Dhumatkar (Mah) 26.98, 2. Avantika Chavan (Mah) 27.13, 3. Maana Patel (Guj) 27.73; Breaststroke: 200m: 1. Saloni Dalal (Kar) 2:44.37 (NR, previous 2:46.49, Tejaswani V., Kar, 2006), 2. Sayani Ghosh (Ben) 2:45.09, 3. Harshitha Jayaram (Kar) 2:45.48; 400m individual medley:1. Sayani Ghosh (Ben) 5:10.57, 2. Shraddha Sudhir (Kar) 5:24.71, 3. Srishti Nag (Chg) 5:26.62; 4x200m freestyle: 1. Maharashtra 9:03.06, 2. Karnataka 9:13.30, 3. Bengal 9:26.58.

Waterpolo:

Men: RSPB bt All India Police 14-4, SSCB bt All India Police 5-4; Women: Kerala bt Karnataka 9-3, Maharashtra bt Bengal 7-4.