Swimming: Record-breaking day at the 74th Senior National Aquatic Championships

Karnataka swimmer Ridhima Veerendrakumar.
Karnataka swimmer Ridhima Veerendrakumar.

Three swimming national records were broken as the 74th Senior National Aquatic Championships 2021 got off to a thumping start in Bengaluru on Tuesday.

Delhi’s Kushagra Rawat, Srihari Nataraj and Karnataka 4x200m freestyle men's team rewrote national records at the iconic Basavangudi Aquatic Center.

Rawat came up with a sensational performance in the 400m freestyle swimming event clocking 3:53.68s, eclipsing Sajan Prakash’s record of 3:54.93s, set in 2018 in Trivandrum.

Rawat was more than three body-lengths ahead of second-place finisher Aneesh Gowda of Karnataka, who timed 3:59.66s. Shoan Ganguly of Karnataka took home the bronze with a time of 4:00.14s.

In another brilliant performance, Srihari Nataraj improved his own national record of 55.63s in the 100m backstroke for men.

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Dominating the race right from the start, Srihari got off to a strong start and was ahead of the pack in the first 50m and took a further lead in the second 50m after a good turn.

Though not his personal best, Nataraj clocked 55.10s to create a new national record.

Siva S of Karnataka finished second with a time of 57.60s while Zavier Michael D’Souza of Goa won bronze with a time of 58.96s.

Speaking on the record, Srihari said he was happy to create a new national record. He said:

“It’s good to be swimming again after the Olympics. Though not my personal best, I am quite happy to have gone under the national record. I have tapered for only seven days for this swimming event. My focus will be on the FINA World Short Course meet this December in Abu Dhabi.”

Ridhima stuns Maana Patel in 100m backstroke swimming event

Meanwhile, in the 100m backstroke swimming event for women, 14-year-old Ridhima Veerendrakumar shocked Maana Patel of Gujarat by beating her to the goal medal.

Although Ridhima missed the national record of 1:04.33s held by Maana Patel, she finished the race at a time of 1:04.40s to take the gold medal.

Maana Patel clocked 1:05.31s while Nina Venkatesh of Karnataka finished third with a time of 1:06.39s.

An elated Ridhima said:

“I am quite happy to have beaten Maana to a gold medal. She is much more experienced than me and to have won this race feels good. I raced with her in 2019 where I finished second behind her.”

In the 50m butterfly swimming event for men, two-time Olympian Sajan Prakash lived up to the billing as he clinched the gold medal clocking 24.90s. It was a close race with Mihir Ambre of Maharashtra and Adhitya D of TNSA giving a tough fight but Sajan did well to finish the race ahead of the duo.

In the 4x200m freestyle swimming event for men, team Karnataka broke the Railways Sports Promotion Board’s record set in 2016. The team, comprising Sambhavv R, Aneesh S Gowda, Tanish George Mathew and Srihari, clocked 7:37.65s to erase the previous record of 7:45.24s.

Also read: Maana Patel leaving no stone unturned to qualify for Asian Games

Edited by S Chowdhury
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