Saloni Dalal led Karnataka’s charge with a record-breaking performance on the penultimate day of the 70th Glenmark Senior National Aquatic Championships as the defending champions surged to the top of the points table on Tuesday.
While there were a number of top-six finishes for Karnataka, helping them take the top spot, it was Saloni’s performance that was the cynosure here at the Veer Budhu Bhagat Aquatic Stadium. The 13-year-old erased Sajini Shetty’s 19-year-old record of 2:46.39 in the women’s 200M breaststroke, clocking a superb 2:44.37.
Saloni looked a bit off in the opening 100 metres as her State-mate Harshitha Jayaram set the early pace. But as the race progressed, Harshitha ran out of steam as Saloni and Bengal’s Sayani Gosh broke from the pack to set up a two-way fight for the gold.
Though the Bengal girl put up a spirited show, swimming in her second event within a span of 15 minutes finally took a toll on her as she couldn’t last the distance. The diminutive Saloni soon switched to long and deep strokes to touch the pad in a record time. Sajini’s record had come at the 1997 National Games in Bengaluru. Sayani took the silver in 2:45.09, while Harshita dropped down to the third spot in 2:45.48.
“It’s a really great feeling to break a record that has stood for this long,” said Saloni flashing broad smile.
“I knew Sayani could give me a good fight and she was there till the very end. She has immense stamina. But I knew that if I could hold on and push myself I could do this,” she added.
Meanwhile, Karnataka, with 206 points to their name, enjoy a comfortable lead on the points table while Railways (162 points, 14 gold) and Maharashtra (162 points, six gold) are placed second and third respectively based on the number of gold medals against their name.
The day also saw the swimmers from the Railways set a new meet record in the 4x200M freestyle relay. The quartet of Sajan Prakash, Saurabh Sangvekar, Aaron D’Souza and Sanu Debnath clocked 7:45.24 improving on the previous best of 7:48.34 that they had set at the Rajkot meet a year ago.
Aaron had more reasons to celebrate as he took home the fastest swimmer’s title by winning the 50M freestyle. In a closely contested race, the Dolphin Aquatics trainee won the gold in 23.29 seconds, while Anshul Kothari of Gujarat settled for silver in 23.31 seconds and Punjab’s Sahil Chopra took the bronze in 23.53 seconds.
Results: Swimming: Men: 50M freestyle: Aaron D’Souza (Railways) 23.29 seconds, 1; Anshul Kothari (Guj) 23.31, 2; Sahil Chopra (Pun) 23.53, 3.
800M freestyle: Saurabh Sangvekar (Railways) 8:26.99, 1; K Mitesh Manoj (Services) 8:35.32, 2; Avinash Mani (Karnataka) 8:35.73, 3.
200M breaststroke: Sandeep Sejwal (Railways) 2:15.28, 1; Likith SP (Kar) 2:19.99, 2; Arun S (Services) 2:21.05, 3.
400M individual medley: Sanu Debnath (Railways) 4:36.95, 1; T Emil Robin Singh (TN) 4:39.27, 2; Supriyo Mondal (Railways) 4:42.14, 3.
4x200M freestyle relay: Railways 7:45.24 (NMR; Old: 7:48.34, Railways, 2015), 1; Services 7:54.52, 2; Karnataka 8:04.68, 3.
Women: 50M freestyle: Aditi Dhumatkar (Mah) 26.98 seconds, 1; Avantika Chavan (Mah) 27.13, 2; Maana Patel (Guj) 27.73, 3.
200M breaststroke: Saloni Dalal (Kar) 2:44.37 (NR; Old: 2:46.39, Sajini Shetty, 1997) 1; Sayani Gosh (Bengal) 2:45.09, 2; Harshita Jayaram (Kar) 2:45.48, 3.
400M individual medley: Sayani Gosh (Bengal) 5:10.57, 1; Shraddha Sudhir (Kar) 5:24.71, 2; Srishti Nag (Chg) 5:26.62, 3.
4x200M freestyle relay: Maharashtra 9:03.06, 1; Services 7:54.52, 2; Karnataka 8:04.68, 3.
Waterpolo: Men: Railways: 14 bt Police: 4; Services 5 bt Police 4. Women: Kerala: 9 bt Karnataka: 3; Maharashtra: 7 bt Bengal: 4.