Senior Aquatic Championships: Karnataka reigns supreme, Srihari and Apeksha adjudged best swimmers

Karnataka, led by the likes of Srihari Nataraj and Ridhima Veerendra Kumar, stormed to the overall title at the 74th Senior National Aquatic Championships on Friday.

Srihari and Apeksha

Srihari Nataraj of Karnataka took home five golds medals and set three National records in the process, while Maharashtra's Apeksha Fernandes clinched three golds and two silvers.   -  Murali Kumar K

There was no let-up in Karnataka’s dominance as golds from Srihari Nataraj, Ridhima Veerendra Kumar and Shoan Ganguly on the final day powered the State to yet another overall title, as the 74th Senior National Aquatic Championships drew to a close at the Basavanagudi Aquatic Centre on Friday.

While Srihari and Ridhima won their respective 200m backstroke races for a clean sweep of the event, Shoan completed the medley double, adding the 400m gold to the 200m he won on Wednesday.

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Srihari also clinched the 200m freestyle title, in record time (1:49.78), just over half a second faster than Sajan Prakash’s mark set in 2018. The 20-year-old finished with five individual golds, and he along with Maharashtra’s Apeksha Fernandes, who won the 100m butterfly race in 1:03.38 for her third gold of the meet, were adjudged the best swimmers.

Sajan Prakash created a new National record in 100m butterfly (53.24), rewriting his own previous best (53.46) from 2018. There was also win for 38-year-old Richa Mishra in 400m medley as she came home in 5:14.69.

Assam's Shivangi Sarma finished with a hat-trick of golds from the meet, adding the women’s 200m freestyle title to her wins over 100m and 400m.

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At the end of the Championships, the Indian contingent for FINA World Short Course in Abu Dhabi in December was announced. It will include Srihari and Sajan, who have qualified with ‘A qualifying time’, and Kushagra Rawat, who has made the team with ‘B qualifying time’.

Young sensation Ridhima was selected for securing the highest FINA points from the events she swum at the Senior Nationals.

The results:

Men:
200m freestyle: Srihari Nataraj (Kar), 1:49.78 (NMR; OR: Sajan Prakash (Police), 1:50.35, 2018)
200m backstroke: Srihari Nataraj, 2:04.20
100m breaststroke: M. Lohith (RSPB), 1:04.24
100m butterfly: Sajan Prakash, 53.24 (NMR; OR: Sajan Prakash, 53.46, 2018)
400m medley: Shoan Ganguly (Kar), 4:30.52

Women:
200m freestyle: Shivangi Sarma (Asm), 2:07.10
200m backstroke: Ridhima Veerendra Kumar (Kar), 2:21.58
100m breaststroke: Chahat Arora (Pun), 1:17.01
100m butterfly: Apeksha Fernandes (Mah), 1:03.38
400m medley: Richa Mishra (Police), 5:14.69

Individual champions: Srihari Nataraj (5 golds, 3 National records); Apeksha Fernandes (3 golds, 2 silvers)
Team championship: Men: Karnataka (119 pts); Women: Karnataka (77 pts); Overall: Karnataka (300 pts).

Diving: Men: SSCB (29 pts); Women: RSPB (19 pts).

Water polo: Men (finals): RSPB 14 bt SSCB 12; Women: Kerala 16 bt Police 10.

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