Karnataka’s hold on the overall championship slipped further as the State swimmers put up another below-par show on day two of the 70th Glenmark Senior National Aquatic Championships here on Sunday.
On an evening when the rain Gods decided to have some mercy on the swimmers, Sajan Prakash led the show with his nippy strokes to set a new meet mark in the 200M butterfly. He later joined forces with his Railway team-mates to obliterate the national best in the 4x100M medley relay at the Veer Budha Bhagat Aquatic Stadium. Meanwhile, for the defending champions, Damini K Gowda was the only bright spot as she won the 200M butterfly gold without much trouble.
Having represented the country in the 200M butterfly at the Rio Olympics, Sajan was expected to dominate the event. And it was no surprise when the Kerala-born swimmer got off the blocks in a fine manner to manage a slender lead on the first turn.
Though his team-mate, Supriyo Mondal, tried his best to spoil the party, it was not to be as the Olympian fired on all cylinders in the final 50 metres to clinch the gold in 1:59.35. Sajan timed better than what he clocked at the Rio Games (1:59.37). Though it also went down as the new meet record, obliterating the previous best of 2:00.90 set by Aaron D’Souza in 2013, there was no surprise as Sajan had already gone under the two-minute mark at the Hong Kong Open in July, clocking 1:59.27.
“It was an easy swim. I didn’t have to think much or worry about who’s swimming alongside me. But if there’s one thing that I am really worried about is the quality of water here,” said the gold medallist who was extremely disappointed to see the condition of the pool at the meet.
“It’s really disappointing to see the condition in which our national meets are conducted. Swimmers train all throughout the year to put up a worthy performance at the Senior Nationals. And when they come here, this is what they get. It’s really disappointing,” he added pointing out the green colour of the water.
Later, Sajan combined with Sandeep Sejwal, Aaron and Supriyo to clinch the 4x100M medley relay in record time. The Railways quartet touched the pad in 3:48.95, better than the previous mark of 3:50.95, which they had set in 2015.
Meanwhile for Karnataka, their butterfly specialist Damini was in no mood to relent as she raced to clinch the 200M gold in 2:21.90. In other individual events, Vaishnav Hegde won silver in the men’s 50M breaststroke, while Avinash Mani grabbed bronze in the 200M freestyle event for Karnataka.
Results: Men: 200M freestyle: Saurabh Sangvekar (Railways) 1:52.83, 1; Anand AS (Services) 1:56.04, 2; Avinash Mani (Kar) 1:56.13, 3. 50M breaststroke: Sandeep Sejwal (Railways) 28.69, 1; Vaishnav Hegde (Kar) 29.17, 2; Puneet Rana (Police) 29.27, 3. 200M butterfly: Sajan Prakash (Railways) 1:59.35 (NR; Old: 2:00.90, Aaron D’Souza, 2013), 1; Supriyo Mondal (Railways) 2:03.42, 2; K Mitesh Manoj (Services) 2:07.04. 4x100M medley relay: Railways 3:48.95 (NR; Old: 3:50.82; Railways, 2015), 1; Karnataka 3:52.52, 2; Gujarat 3:59.83, 3.
Women: 1500M freestyle: Monique Gandhi (Mah) 18:21.13, 1; Shruthi Mahalingam (TN) 18:21.53, 2; PM Abhishikta (TN) 18:43.59, 3. 50M breaststroke: Chahat Arora (Chd) 35.11, 1; Annie Jain (MP) 35.39, 2; AV Jayaveena (TN) 35.40, 3. 200M butterfly: Damini K Gowda (Kar) 2:21.90, 1; Trisha Karkhanis (Mah) 2:27.94, 2; Srishti Nag (Chg) 2:28.11, 3. 4x100M medley relay: Maharashtra 4:36.21, 1; Karnataka 4:38.36, 2; Gujarat 4:41.01, 3.
Diving: Men: 3M spring board: K Ramananda Sharma (Services) 306.35, 1; Siddharth Pradeshi (Services) 267.15, 2; Hemam L Singh (Kar) 251.45, 3.
Women: 3M spring board: Hrutika Shriram (Railways) 184.60, 1; Deepti Panwar (Railways) 170.05, 2; Simran Rajani (Mah) 165.35, 3.
Waterpolo: Men: Police: 12 bt Delhi: 0; Railways: 15 bt Karnataka: 1; Services: 12 bt Punjab: 0; Kerala: 12 bt Bengal: 9. Women: Kerala: 5 bt Police: 2; Maharashtra: 12 bt Manipur: 0.