National Swimming C'ships: Srihari strikes gold twice on hectic day

Kushagra Rawat and Shivani Kataria break meet records in the men's 800m and women's 200m freestyle.

Srihari Nataraj won Gold medal in the 50m Backstroke race AND 100m freestyle.   -  A.M. Faruqui

With three events lined up, Tuesday was a very hectic day for Srihari Nataraj, currently the country's best swimmer.

Still the 18-year-old managed to come very close to his national record while winning the 50m backstroke, the event he loves the most, in a meet record time at the 73 Glenmark National senior aquatic championships at the Prakash Tarun Pushkar pool here.

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Srihari, from Bengaluru, had bettered his 50 back record thrice at the junior Worlds in Hungary a few days ago bringing it down to 25.50s while finishing sixth and he did not disappoint here, clocking an impressive 25.58 for this third individual gold.

“I didn't really go all out, I thought if I get a good start, it should be a personal best. The start was good but the swim wasn't hundred percent,” said the youngster. “I knew this would be my main event, I enjoy this one, I don't get a lot of chances to do this.”

Jayarajan's joy

A few minutes later, his coach A.C. Jayarajan watched happily as his trainees Srihari, A.S. Anand and Vinay Saharan (the last two representing Services), in that order, ran away with all the medals in the 100m freestyle.

Meanwhile, Delhi's Kushagra Rawat, who had won the men's 1500m freestyle earlier, won the 800m very comfortably on Tuesday for a distance record double. And Haryana's Shivani Kataria, who went to the 2016 Rio Olympics on a Universality quota, took the women's 200m freestyle title with a meet record.

The results (finals)

Men: 100m freestyle: 1. Srihari Nataraj (Kar) 50.59s, 2. A.S. Anand (Ser) 51.49, 3. Vinay Saharan (Ser) 52.87.

800m freestyle: 1. Kushagra Rawat (Del) 8:09.47 MR, OR 8:12.51; 2. Soumyajit Saha (Rly) 8:32.01, 3. Sushrut S. Kapse (Rly) 8:33.58.

50m backstroke: 1. Srihari Nataraj (Kar) 25.58s MR, OR 26.01; 2. Rakshith U. Shetty (Kar) 26.73, 3. P.S. Madhu (Ser) 27.02.

100m butterfly: 1. Sajan Prakash (Pol) 54.25s, 2. Mihir Ambre (Mah) 54.38, 3. Supriya Mondal (Rly) 54.47.

Women: 200m freestyle: 1. Shivani Kataria (Har) 2:05.80s MR, OR 2:05.86; 2. Kenisha Gupta (Mah) 2:07.94, 3. Khushi Dinesh (Kar) 2:10.49.

50m backstroke: 1. Maana Patel (Guj) 30.39s, 2. Jyotsna Pansare (Mah) 30.82, 3. Ridhima Veerandra Kumar (Kar) 30.87.

100m butterfly: 1. Divya Satija (Har) 1:04.38s, 2. Apeksha Fernandes (Mah) 1:05.53, 3. Nina Venkatesh (Kar) 1:05.98.

4x200m freestyle: 1. Karnataka (Damini Gowda, Suvana Baskar, Smruthi Mahalingam, Khushi Dinesh) 9:04.86s, 2. Maharashtra (9:08.51), 3. Tamil Nadu (9:09.18).

Mixed, 4x50m freestyle: 1. Maharashtra (Mihir Ambre, Rujuta Khade, Kenisha Gupta, Virdhawal Khade) 1:39.69s MR; OR 1:40.00; 2. Railway (1:41.83), 3. Karnataka (1:41.92).