National Swimming C’ship: Srihari, Sajan shine

Srihari Nataraj registers the best Indian performance in 200m backstroke event; Sajan Prakash sizzles in 400m freestyle.

Sajan Prakash set a new meet record in 400m freestyle at the BR Ambedkar Aquatic complex in Thiruvananthapuram on Friday.   -  S. Mahinsha

A record is always on the cards whenever Srihari Nataraj competes in backstroke events.

On the third day of the Glenmark 72nd National Swimming championship at the BR Ambedkar Aquatic complex pool on Friday, the teenager blitzed the pool to come up with the best Indian performance in 200m backstroke event.

Srihari, who finished sixth in Asian Games in the same event with the best Indian performance of 2:03.83, hardly faced any competition here. Srihari forged ahead from the start and by the halfway stage had built a body-length lead over his nearest rival. He raced against the clock and came up with a fine kick in the homestretch to finish the race in 2:02.37. Srihari also met the B standard qualification norm for the World meet.

Meet record broken

Sajan Prakash came up with another sterling performance in 400m freestyle to break the meet record and also set the best Indian performance for the event. Sajan started off slowly and trailed the former record holder Saurabh Sangvekar after the first lap but took the lead by the end of the third lap. However, youngster Kushagra Rawat started pushing Sajan and it appeared to be a close contest at the homestretch. But Sajan swam an outstanding final lap to finish the race in 3:54.83 and in the process sunk Saurabh Sangvekar's old mark (3:56.17), which was also the previous best Indian performance.

Read: Richa Mishra defies age to set pool ablaze

Later, Sajan won the 100m butterfly race to set his second record of the day. He clocked 53.46 seconds to break his own old mark (53.83) set in 2017. The day’s last record was set by the Swimming Federation of India team in the 4x50m mixed relay. SFI clocked 1:40.00 to sink the old record set by Railways (1:41.54) in 2017.

Richa wins 1500m

Richa Mishra comfortably won the gruelling 1500m race, finishing at least 25 metres ahead of Bhavika Dugar. But Richa, who won her third gold medal, narrowly failed to break the meet record.

Maana Patel ruled supreme in 200m backstroke, finishing at 10m ahead of her rivals but she also failed to break the meet record, settling for the gold in 2:20.42.

Trisha Karkhanis of SFI upset a few big names to win 100m butterfly while 15-year-old Kenisha Gupta, also of SFI, became the fastest women swimmer of the meet.

The results
  • Men: 400m freestyle: 1. Sajan Prakash (Kerala) (3:54.83 NR; OR - 3:56.17, Saurabh Sangvekar, Maharashtra, 2014), 2. Kushagra Rawat (Delhi) (3:58.40), 3. Aryan Makhijia (Delhi) (4:01.10)
  • 200m back stroke: 1. Srihari Nataraj (Karnataka) (2:02.37 NR; OR- 2:03.89, Srihari Nataraj, Karnataka, 2017), 2. T.Sethu Manickavel (TN) (2:06.21), 3. K. Abbasuddin (TN) (2:09.36).
  • 100m butterfly: 1. Sajan Prakash (53.46 NR; OR - 53.83, Sajan Prakash, Kerala, 2017), 2. Supriya Mondal (Railways) (54.70), 3. Mihir Amre (SFI) (55.89).
  • Women: 50m freestyle: 1.Kenisha Gupta (SFI) (26.92), 2. Deeksha Ramesh (Karnataka) (27.12), 3. Avantika Chavan (Karnataka) (27.23).
  • 1500m freestyle: 1. Richa Mishra (Police) (17:41.16), 2. Bhavika Dugar (TN) (17:58.31), 3. Kushi Dinesh (TN) (18:03.18).
  • 200m back stroke: 1. Maana Patel (Gujarat) (2:20.42), 2. Suvana C.Baskar (Karnataka) (2:25.01), 3. Soubrity Mondal (Bengal) (2:27.60).
  • 100m butterfly: 1. Trisha Karkhanis (SFI) (1:03.62), 2. Divya Satija (Haryana) (1:04.39), 3.Damini K.Gowda (1:05.36).
  • 4x50m mixed relay: 1. SFI (1:40.00 - NR; OR- 1:41.54, Railways, 2017), 2. Railways (1:40.70), 3. Karnataka (1:42.47).
  • 4X200m freestyle: 1. Karnataka (9:05.55), 2. Tamil Nadu (9:13.67), 3. SFI (9:15.67).