Ever-green Richa strikes gold on opening day:
The 36-year-old eases her way to 200m individual medley gold, Karnataka set a new meet record in the mixed medley relay
One of India’s well-known swimmer’s Richa Mishra of Police set the pool ablaze with her nippy strokes as she defended her 200m individual medley yet again on the opening day of the 73rd Glenmark Aquatic Championships, 2019 at the Prakash Taran Pushkar Bhavan in Bhopal.
The 36-year-old was in fine form as she raced to a body-length lead after the butterfly segment. From there on, there was no looking back as the Delhi swimmer continued to build on her advantage to take the gold in 2:24.70.
One of Maharashtra’s upcoming swimmer Kenisha Gupta came in second after a commendable fight against the senior pro. She took the silver in 2:25.31, while her State-mate Apeksha Fernandes completed the podium in 2:26.53.
"I have enjoyed every bit of the competition throughout my career. It's a part of my life. I love competing in competitions and the Senior Nationals is something that I have loved to participate ever since my debut some 15 years ago," said Richa after her win.
The evening races began with Delhi’s Kushagra Rawat laying down the marker for the swimmers to follow with a perfectly-timed in the 400m freestyle. The 19-year-old who trains at the SAI-Glenmark Aquatic Centre in the capital city clocked 3:56.95 to win the gold, while Services’ Anand S was way behind the winner, taking the silver in 4:01.92. Aaron Fernandes of Maharashtra took the bronze medal in 4:04.71.
In the women’s 400m freestyle, while Rio Olympian Shivani Kataria retained her title without much fuss in 4:27.31, the battle for bronze saw Shivangi Sarma of Assam edged past Karnataka’s Khushi Dinesh at the touchpad to finish second in 4:30.55. Khushi had to be content with a bronze after clocking 4:30.80
The opening day also saw Karnataka set a new meet record in the mixed 4x50m medley relay. The quartet of Suvana C Baskar, Srihari Nataraj, Likith SP and Deeksha Ramesh touched the pad in 1:50.65, obliterating the previous record of 1:51.06 held by the Railways set in 2017.
Virdhawal, Rawat light up the 73rd Glenmark Senior National Aquatic meet
Records tumble as swimmers take their game a notch higher in Bhopal
The 73rd Glenmark Senior National Aquatic Championships at the Prakash Tarun Pushkar in Bhopal came to life on the second day as the swimmers brought their ‘A’ game to the fore to set as many as four meet records on Sunday.
While the fastest swimmer in the country, Virdhawal Khade, retained his 50m freestyle crown, one of India’s brightest talent, Srihari Nataraj bettered his mark in the 200m backstroke with a fine swim on a rainy Sunday.
Delhi’s Kushagra Rawat and the Maharashtra quartet of Rutuja Khade Apeksha Fernandes, Sadhvi Dhuri and Kenisha Gupta too were among the record setters.
Taking the pool for his pet event, Khade was in his elements as he barely showed any signs of pressure to race his way to victory in 22.44 seconds, 0.06 seconds better than his previous mark set at the Thiruvananthapuram meet in 2009. “It was not a bad race, but I would have been happy if I could have done this at the (2018) Asian Games,” said the Maharashtra swimmer post the race.
Though the ‘A’ qualification time of the 2020 Olympic is still a bit far for Khade, the swimmer, who was coming on the back of a disappointing FINA World Championships last month, was confident of going better in the coming months. “I think I can get the ‘A’ cut. Yes, the World Championships were a disappointment because I got injured just before that. The ACL is still not 100% so I'm still 15-20% below what I can be. It's ok while swimming but whenever I have to push off or turn, it's a bit difficult but I've trained for the adjustments,” explained the senior swimmer.
Rawat, meanwhile, had no such trouble as he eased his way to win the 1500m freestyle in record time. The SAI-Glenmark Aquatic Centre trainee was comfortably ahead of his competitors by the fourth lap, and from there on it was all about pushing for a recording time. And Rawat did that without much fuss. He won the race in 15:41.45, obliterating the previous record of 15:42.67, set by Madhya Pradesh’s Advait Page in 2018.
“I was hoping for a 15:35 here, so a little disappointed with the time, but then a gold medal feels good,” said Rawat.
“I think I need to work on pacing my race better and then after a while, I had no one to push me, so that too went against what I was looking to achieve.”
Later in the day, Nataraj faced no real challenge in retaining his 200m backstroke title. Inching ahead of his competitors after the initial surge, Nataraj looked in firm control of the race as he went ahead to clock 2:02.29, bettering his previous mark of 2:02.37 set at the 2018 meet.
The day also saw the Maharashtra’s relay team retain their crown in some style. They clocked 4:02.90 for the gold, obliterating the previous best set at 4:03.05 by their compatriots at the 2014 meet.
Satija sets a new National mark
Haryana swimmer clocks 26.33 seconds to win the 50m butterfly at the 73rd Glenmark Senior National Aquatic Championships
Haryana’s Divya Satija set the pool ablaze with her nippy strokes to rewrite the National Record in 50m butterfly at the 73rd Glenmark Aquatic Championship in Bhopal at the Prakash Tarun Pushkar on Monday.
The 23-year-old Haryana swimmer was in hot form as she raced off the blocks the quickest and managed to hold on to her slender lead to win the race in 28.33 seconds, obliterating the previous mark of 28.64 seconds set by her at 2017 meet at the same venue.
Though Karnataka’s Nina Venkatesh pushed the senior pro till the very end, she had to be satisfied with a silver medal, touching the pad in 28.43 seconds. Maharashtra’s Jyotsna Pansare was third in 28.74 seconds.
Satija, a trainee at the Dolphin Aquatics in Bengaluru was not surprised by her feat, and in fact, was expected to dip the mark at the meet. “Not surprised with my performance. In fact, I was expecting this. I have been training towards this for a while now. I had clocked the meet record at this pool two years back, so that was always in the back of my mind,” she said.
“I have been in this range for a while now. In the past three races, I clocked 28.72 seconds. Every time I would take the dip, the aim was to better the time, but it just didn’t work. But fortunately, today in the morning heats I managed 28.71 seconds and that was a big relief. On the face of it, it might just be 0.01 seconds, but that helped me a lot. It gave me the confidence that I could go faster.”
In the men’s 50m butterfly, Maharashtra’s Virdhawal Khade continued his dominance on the meet with another gold in record time. The 28-year-old clocked 24.26 seconds for the gold, bettering his previous mark of 24.26 seconds set at the Thiruvananthapuram last year.
Meanwhile, his wife Rujuta too made the most her return to competitive swimming to clinch the 50m freestyle title in 26.72 seconds. It’s the first time that a husband-wife duo swept an event at the Senior Nationals.
Later in the evening, Karnataka’s quartet of Srihari Nataraj, Likith SP, Rakshit Shetty, Prithvi M combined well to hand their side a gold in the 4x100m medley relay, setting a new meet record in the process. They clocked 3:48.83, obliterating the previous best of 3:48.95 set by the Railways at the Ranchi meet in 2016.