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Swimming National Championships: Can Srihari Nataraj retain his 200m freestyle national record?

Srihari Nataraj will compete in five events at the senior national championships.
Srihari Nataraj will compete in five events at the senior national championships.
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Indian swimmer Srihari Nataraj will look to retain his national record in the 200m freestyle at the swimming nationals scheduled to be held from October 26 to 29 in Bengaluru.

The 6'3" Bengaluru swimmer’s three-year-old record was broken by Sambhavv R in the group 1 boys at the junior nationals. Sambhavv, also a Karnataka swimmer, clocked 1:33.41sec, improving on Srihari Nataraj’s record of 1:53.54 set in 2018.

Srihari Nataraj, though, is confident that he can retain his national record on Tuesday. In an exclusive conversation with Sportskeeda, he said:

“Since for me it was supposed to be an off-season, I have no specific goals set for the national championships. The focus is to keep my national golds and records and help Karnataka win the team title.”

Srihari Nataraj will be competing in five events at the Nationals. They are the 50, 100 and 200 back, and 100 and 200 free. The 20-year-old swimmer will also compete in five relay events (three men and two mixed).

Looking forward to kick start the racing calendar after a long break ! Best Wishes to all participants at the 2021 Sub Junior/Junior/Senior National Championships. Watch the action on live streaming .. follow us on FB19-23 & 26-29 October https://t.co/5Q6kMqEUyY

For him, skipping the Nationals was always an option but Srihari Nataraj just could not stay away from the competition knocking on his door.

This will be the first senior national championships since the COVID-19 pandemic. The youngster, who made his Olympic debut this year, will use the competition as a testing ground to begin preparations for the Asian Games and Commonwealth Games next year.

“I have not made any plans on what next after the senior nationals. The competition at Basavangudi Aquatic Center will be a good testing ground for me. I have a rough idea about where I need to improve but the picture will get clear after the nationals,” he said.

Srihari Nataraj’s plans for next year

Although nothing is concrete yet, Srihari plans to go on overseas training next year. He also has set sight on the 15th FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) scheduled to be held from December 16 to 21 this year.

“All the planning and goals will be done in March. I do plan to compete at the World Championships and an overseas tour next year. The aim is to medal at the Asian and Commonwealth Games,” he said.

Edited by Anantaajith Ra
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