Virdhawal proves a point; Srihari and Kushagra better records

Although Virdhawal Khade appeared impatient, he managed to break his meet record in the morning heats and then improved it to 22.44s to the take the gold in 50m freestyle at the National senior aquatic championships.

Virdhawal Khade broke his National senior aquatic championships record to take gold.   -  A.M.Faruqui

His 50m free timings in the recent World championships in South Korea, 22.95s, had rankled him and Virdhawal Khade just wanted to be faster here at the 73 Glenmark National senior aquatic championships on Sunday.

The 28-year-old from Maharashtra, the country's fastest swimmer with a time of 22.43 which came at last year's Jakarta Asian Games, appeared impatient, breaking his meet record in the morning heats and then improving it to 22.44s to take the 50m freestyle gold in the evening at the Prakash Tarun Pushkar pool.

“Frankly, I did not have any target but I think this is a good place to be. I knew I would go fast, the expectation was to go faster than the Worlds,” said Khade, a 50m fly bronze medallist in the 2010 Asian Games who is coached by the experienced Nihar Ameen in Bengaluru.

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

“I will not go to the Asian age-group meet (later this month in Bengaluru) with any expectations but I would like to win a gold.”

A few minutes before that, another big star, Srihari Nataraj – who has been on a record-breaking spree in the senior and junior Worlds in the last few weeks – bettered his own meet record in the punishing 200m backstroke.

“That race hurt a lot, especially since the junior Worlds was so close,” said the 18-year-old Bengaluru boy, who has A.C. Jayaraj as his coach.

Kicking each other

In the same race in the women's section, Gujarat's Maana Patel and Karnataka's Suvana C. Baskar were virtually kicking each other on their way to gold and silver.

Srihari Natraj bettered his own meet record in the punishing 200m backstroke. PHOTO: A.M.Faruqui

 

Maana, not a great fan of the 200m back, was in fact planning to pull out of the event.

“I've never liked the 200 back and I have a very bad throat infection so I was actually going to pull out from the heats but I had to swim at the last minute. I'm glad I did,” said Maana, who trains in Mumbai.

The race was close and there were some dramatic moments too.

“Maana and I were hitting each other in the second and third laps. I was hitting Maana's leg, she was hitting my back,” said Suvana, who pulled off a personal best.

Earlier, Delhi's Kushagra Rawat broke the men's 1500m free meet record clocking 15:41.45s but he was far away from Advait Page's national record (15:25.98s). Advait, incidentally, has gone to the United States and hence was missing here.

The results (finals)

Men: 50m free: 1. Virdhawal Khade (Mah) 22.44 MR, OR 22.70 in heats; 2. Viraj Prabhu (Rly) 23.39, 3. Mihir Ambre (Mah) 23.76.

1500m free: 1. Kushagra Rawat (Del) 15:41.45s MR, OR 15:42.67, 2. Sushrut S. Kapse (Rly) 16:29.27, 3. Aneesh S. Gowda (Kar) 16:32.28.

200m back: 1. Srihari Nataraj (Kar) 2:02.29s, 2. S. Siva (Kar) 2:07.11, 3. Arvind Mani (Ser) 2:10.24.

4x100m free relay: 1. Karnataka (Tanish George Mathew, M. Prithvi, S. Siva, Srihari Nataraj) 3:30.45s, 2. Services (3:31.04), 3. Maharashtra (3:31.17).

Women: 200m back: 1. Maana Patel (Guj) 2:21.74s, 2. Suvana C. Baskar (Kar) 2:22.30, 3. Soubrity Mondal (Ben) 2:23.55.

400m medley: 1. Richa Mishra (Pol) 5:05.49s, 2. Apeksha Fernandes (Mah) 5:12.91, 3. B. Shakthi (TN) 5:13.19.

4x100m free relay: 1. Maharashtra (Rutuja Khade, Apeksha Fernandes, Sadhvi Dhuri, Kenisha Gupta) 4:02.90s MR; OR 4:03.05; 2. Karnataka (4:09.88), 3. Tamil Nadu (4:13.25).