Sangvekar steals the show

Swimming National Championships

 Saurabh Sangvekar kicked off his National Swimming Championship  campaign in Ranchi with a bang by winning the 800M freestyle gold.

Saurabh Sangvekar has been tipped to break all barriers in long distance swimming in the Indian scenario. The Karnataka lad affirmed that belief on Wednesday with a National record-breaking swim in the 800M freestyle at the 65th Senior Aquatic championships which began at the Veer Budhu Bhagat Aquatic Centre here on Wednesday.

It was Thane-born Sangvekar’s first title at the senior level competition. Sangvekar, who led from the start to the finish, touched the wall in eight minutes 12.57 seconds, a good 21 seconds ahead of his nearest rival and seasoned campaigner Mander A Divase. “My coach said I can improve my timing after the Junior Nationals. Keeping that in my mind, I was training hard,” said Sangvekar, who trains under National coach Pradeep Kumar.

The 17-year-old Sangvekar, who trains at the Basavanagudi Aquatic Centre in Bangalore, made full use of perfect conditions and a top quality 10-lane pool, built for the National Games held in February, to outclass his opponents en route to the new National mark. Once Saurabh turned the 400M-mark at 4:03.00 he shifted to top gear before cruising home for his maiden Senior gold.

In the process, the Junior National champion erased his own mark of 8:18.40, slicing almost six seconds from the old time, set last month at the Asian Age Group championships in Jakarta.

Though, Sangvekar benefitted from the absence of his State-mate Gagan AP -- who decided to opt out of the first few days of the meet due to exams — it hardly takes the sheen away from the youngster’s achievement. But the real test for Sangvekar will be on Sunday when Gagan returns for the 1500M freestyle event.

In the last event of the day, Karnataka women’s 4x100M medley relay team set new meet record. The quartet of Kshipra Mahajan, Bhoomi R Motwani, Pooja R Alva and Surabhi Tipre stopped the clock in 4:36.37 seconds for the crown, erasing the previous record mark of 4:39.62 created by the State  team at Thiruvananthapuram in 2009.

Earlier, Rehan Poncha got off to a winning start, clocking 2:07.85 seconds in the men’s 200M backstroke, beating team-mate Rohit R Havaldar for the gold. Rohit claimed silver in 2:08.17.

Pooja R Alva completed the tally as she triumphed by a razor-thin margin of 0.3 seconds, posting 29.56 seconds to take home the one-lap butterfly title.

RSPB swimmers had a field day on Wednesday with Sandeep Sejwal (200 breaststroke, 2:16.37) and their men’s 4x100M medley relay team (3:56.06) going under the existing meet records.

Karnataka won four gold, two silver and three bronze medals to lead the table while RSPB surprised everyone by shooting to second place (3 gold, 1 silver, 2 bronze).

In the water polo competitions, riding on a brace each from Shruti MS and Shwetha SS, Karnataka women thrashed Delhi 6-0. State men went down to SSCB 1-9.

Results: Men: 800M freestyle: Saurabh Sangvekar (Kar) 8:12.57 seconds, 1. National Record (Old: 8:18.00, Saurabh Sangvekar, Asian Age Group championship, Jakarta, 2011; New Meet Record; Old: 8:23.08, Mandar A Divase, Police, 2009); Mandar A Divase (Pol) 8:34.47, 2; Mervyn Chen (RSPB) 8:38.87, 3.

200M backstroke: Rehan Poncha (Kar) 2:07.85, 1; Rohit R Havaldar (Kar) 2:08.17, 2; Praveen Tokas (RSPB) 2:13.38, 3.

200M breaststroke: Sandeep Sejwal (RSPB) 2:16.37, 1. New Meet Record (Old: 2:17.92, Sandeep Sejwal, RSPB, 2010); Anoop Augustine (RSPB) 2:26.98, 2; Arvind M (Kar) 2:30.66, 3.

50M butterfly: Sarma SP Nair (RSPB) 26.13, 1; Arjun Murlidharan (Pol) 26.35, 2; Anshul Kothari (Guj) 26.39, 3. 4x100M medley relay: RSPB (Praveen Tokas, Sandeep Sejwal, Tarun Tokas, Sarma S P Nair) 3:56.06, 1. New Meet Record (Old: 3:56.98, RSPB, 2010); Karnataka (Rehan Poncha, Likhith SP, Aaron D’Souza, Saurabh Sangvekar) 4:01.14, 3; West Bengal (Gopinath Kayal, Aukik Das, Supriya Mondal, Sanu Debnath) 4:27.16, 3.

Women:
200M backstroke: Arti Ghorpade (Mah) 2:28.59, 1; Ananya Panigrahi (Mah) 2:29.34, 2; Meghana S (Kar) 2:35.79, 3.
200M breaststroke: M Raghavi (TN) 2:48.39, 1; Poorva Shetye (Mah) 2:48.57, 2; AV Jayaveena (TN) 2:51.45, 3.
50M butterfly: Pooja R Alva (Kar) 29.56, 1; Talasha Prabhu (Goa) 29.86, 2; Fariha Zaman (Kar0 30.16, 3.
4x100M medley relay: Karnataka (Kshipra Mahajan, Bhoomi R Motwani, Surabhi Tipre, Pooja R Alva) 4:36.37, 1. NMR (Old: 4:39.62, Karnataka, 2009); Maharashtra (Ananya Panigrahi, Poorva Shetye, Aditi D, Rujuta Bhatt) 4:37.94, 2. BMR; Tamil Nadu (Sherlyn Meghna, AV Jayaveena, Anusha Mehta, VKR Meenakshi) 4:58.12, 3.
Water polo: Men: SSCB: 9 (Aneesh 1, Jayakumar 3, James M 2, Sharat 3) bt Karnataka: 1 (Sherin T 1); Police bt Manipur 10-0; Delhi bt Jharkhand 5-1.
Women: Karnataka: 6 (Mrudula V 1, Shruti M S 2, Aishwarya M 1, Shwetha S S 2) bt Delhi: 0; Kerala bt Bengal 7-0; Maharashtra bt Manipur 9-0.

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