Aaron D’Souza kept his composure during a frustrating 50-minute delay and beat back the challenge of Sandeep Sejwal to nail down his first individual title of the 66th Senior National Aquatic championships here on Thursday.
A power failure caused by heavy afternoon showers delayed the start of the fourth day’s proceedings even as the swimmers and technical officials took their respective positions at the pool deck. It took almost an hour to sort out of the problem.
Aaron, who had faltered in his bid in the 50 backstroke and 200 freestyle earlier, had to swim the first event of evening finals — the men’s 200M individual medley. The Karnataka lad, however, faced no problems as he touched the wall in two minutes 07.38 seconds for the gold. “It was really frustrating. But I am happy that I won. I wasn’t in the best of my form here,” said Aaron, who have the 100M freestyle and 200M butterfly on Friday.
Sejwal of RSPB claimed silver in 2:11.38 while another Karnataka lad, Arvind M, pocketed the bronze in 2:12.95.
From lane three, Aaron was quickly off the blocks, completing the butterfly segment in 26.76 ahead of Arvind (27.65). Sejwal was in sixth position, timing 28.17 seconds. Aaron gained momentum in the backstroke segment (58.81), taking a good two seconds lead over Arvind while Sejwal climbed to third position.
Breaststroke specialist Sejwal then almost caught up with Aaron in the next leg. By the end of the 150-metre mark, the 20-year-old Aaron was just 0.16 seconds ahead (1:38.55) of Sejwal. The Karnataka swimmer, however, sped away in the freestyle segment to beat Sejwal by three seconds.
Pooja R Alva, who won the 100M butterfly on Wednesday, completed a double by claiming the women’s 200M individual medley in 2:28.30.
In the morning, Karnataka men’s 4x100M freestyle relay team of Gagan AP, Saurabh Sangvekar, Rohit R Havaldar and Aaron D’Souza set a new meet mark, clocking 3:32.14. The relay quartet sliced more than two seconds from their own record of 3:34.55 created last year in Ranchi.
Richa Mishra and Virdhawal Khade stayed on course to bag the individual honours with convincing wins on the penultimate day. Richa dethroned Surabhi Tipre in the 1500M freestyle with a time of 17:46.76 for her fifth gold while Virdhawal bagged the 50M freestyle in 22.84 for his fourth title. In the process, Virdhawal also attained the ‘B’ Standard mark for the 2013 Barcelona World Championship which stands at 23.11.
On the penultimate day, Karnataka look set to retain their crown with 10 gold, 11 silver and 7 bronze. Leading on the gold medal count, though, is Maharashtra (11 gold, 5 silver, 10 bronze).
Men: 50M freestyle: Virdhawal Khade (Mah) 22.84 seconds, 1; Anshul Kothari (Guj) 24.04, 2; Arjun JP (RSPB) 24.12, 3.
100M backstroke: MB Balakrishnan (TN) 58.97 seconds, 1; Rohit R Havaldar (Kar) 1:00.60, 2; Rohit Imoliya (MP) 1:00.73, 3.
200M individual medley: Aaron D’Souza (Kar) 2:07.38, 1; Sandeep Sejwal (RSPB) 2:11.38, 2; Arvind M (Kar) 2:12.95, 3. 4x100M freestyle relay: Karnataka (Gagan AP, Saurabh Sangvekar, Rohit R Havaldar, Aaron D’Souza) 3:32.14. New Meet Record (Old: 3:34.55, Karnataka, 2011 Ranchi) 1; RSPB (Sajan Prakash, Arjun JP, G Mohan, Sharma S Nair) 3:34.69, 2; Maharashtra (Amar Muralidharan, Aniket Shedge, Apurva Sharma, Virdhawal Khade) 3:41.14, 3.
Women: 50M freestyle: Talasha Prabhu (Goa) 27.76 seconds, 1; Shivani Kataria (Har) 27.81, 2; Aditi Dhumatkar (Mah) 27.85, 3. 1500M freestyle: Richa Mishra (Pol) 17:46.76, 1; Surabhi Tipre (Kar) 18:03.13, 2; Aakanksha Vora (Mah) 18:51.67, 3. 100M backstroke: Jyotsna Pansare (Mah) 1:07.69, 1; Arti Ghorpade (Mah) 1:08.12, 2; Sony Cyriac (Ker) 1:08.87, 3. 200M individual medley: Pooja R Alva (Kar) 2:28.30, 1; AV Jayaveena (TN) 2:29.06, 2; VKR Meenakshi (TN) 2:32.25, 3.
4x100M freestyle relay: Maharashtra (Arti Ghorpade, Aditi Dhumatkar, Aakanksha Vora, Jyotsna Pansare) 4:07.09. NMR (Old: 4:08.63, Karnataka, 2009 Trivandrum) 1; Karnataka (Sneha T, Malavika V, Pooja R Alva, Surabhi Tipre) 4:10.96, 2; Tamil Nadu (AV Jayaveena, Kavya G, Mugdha M, Anusha Mehta) 4:20.25, 3.
Water polo (semifinals): Men: SSCB bt Police 12-7; RSPB bt Maharashtra 8-1.
Women: Kerala bt Maharashtra 7-5; Bengal bt Police 2-0.