National record holder Sandeep Sejwal provided the brightest spot during an otherwise dull opening day of the Federation Cup aquatics meet when he clocked two minutes, 18.31 seconds to come inside the current National meet record in the 200m breast stroke at the Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Aquatic complex here on Tuesday.
Sejwal, the local favourite representing Railways, appeared more motivated than most others on view. Though he was widely expected to win, the timing was particularly impressive given the fact that he had no real competition. He holds the national record of 2:15.24 set during the 2008 Olympic Games as against his own National championship record of 2:18.85 made last October.
Expectedly, no National record was threatened since the leading swimmers are still training on full load and not keen to peak ahead of the Commonwealth Games.
Virdhawal Khade, favourite to win all the four events he is competing in, emerged as the fastest man of the meet. He eased to the 50m freestyle title in 23.26 seconds, almost a second ahead of Gujarat’s Anshul Kothari.
“I think, I always do better when I am challenged but here, it was indeed difficult to motivate myself. I was expecting a better time but its okay. I will push myself more in my remaining three events,” said the country’s best exponent in the one and two lappers in freestyle and butterfly.
Among the ladies, Arti Ghorpade collected gold medals in 400m freestyle and 200m backstroke as did Pooja Alva in the 200m butterfly and 200m individual medley.
In the absence of National record holder Richa Mishra, Arti won the eight-lapper in 4:39.70, slower by 0.10 second from the time that placed her fourth in the last National championship. In the individual medley, 200m backstroke, Arti clocked 2:32.74 minutes, an improvement over her bronze-winning time in the last National meet.
Pooja won the 200m individual medley in 2:33.06, almost five seconds faster than second-placed Arti. Pooja swam a slow 200m butterfly in 2:31.57 that proved enough for the gold. In the last National meet, Pooja’s effort of 2:28.61 was worth only a bronze medal.
In the morning, the women’s springboard diving was preceded by some drama when the Bengal’s Priyanka Banerjee got hurt and needed medical attention after the drainage-cover by the poolside gave way.
The results: Men: 50m freestyle: 1. Virdhawal Khade (Mah) 0:23.26; 2. Anshul Kothari (Guj) 0:24.23; J. P. Arun (Rlys) 0:24.47; 400m freestyle: 1. A. P. Gagan (Kar) 4:03.17; Marvyn Chen (Rlys) 4:14.59; Deva Solanki (Del) 4:20.39; 200 backstroke: 1. Rohit Havaldar (Kar) 2:08.41; 2. Praveen Tokas (Rly) 2:12.34; C. G. Gautham (TN) 2:30.69; 200m breast stroke: 1. Sandeep Sejwal (Rlys) 2:18.31; 2. Puneet Rana (Pun) 2:26.85; 3. Jashandeep Singh (Pun) 2:28.46; 200m butterfly: 1. K. C. Sreejith (Rlys) 2:14.51; 2. K. M. Vishnu (Ser) 2:14.64; 3. R. Chakraborty (Ser) 2:17.49; 200m Individual Medley: 1. J. Agnishwar (TN) 2:11.57; 2. C. G. Gautham (TN) 2:21.35; 3. C. H. Vinaykrishnan (Pol) 2:21.99; 4 x 100m medley relay: 1. Railways 4:10.22; 2. Services 4:12.43; 3. Delhi 4:34.08.
Diving: One-metre springboard: 1. S. Rabi Kumar Singh (Rlys) 209.45 points; 2. T. Hari Prasad (Rlys) 199.95; 3. Ch. Puskar Meitei (Jha) 183.45
Women: 50m freestyle: 1. Talasha Prabhu (Goa) 0:27.79; 2. T. Sneha (Kar) 0:27.91; 3. Subha Chittaranjan (Kar) 0:28.08; 400m freestyle: 1. Arti Ghorpade (Mah) 4:39.80; 2. Sushaka Pratap (Kar) 4:47.66; 3. Pooja Alva (Kar) 4:53.09; 200 backstroke: 1. Arti Ghorpade (Mah) 2:32.74; 2. Heta Davey (MP) 2:37.62; 3. Meghna Sreevatsa (Kar) 2:37.62; 200m breast stroke: 1. Priyanka Priyadarshini (Del) 2:56.61; 2. Baby Kumari (Bih) 3:23.21; 200m butterfly: 1. Pooja Alva (Kar) 2:31.57; 2. Harpreet Kaur (Del) 2:32.99; 3. Shinjini Sahay (Mah) 2:39.20; 200m
Individual Medley: 1. Pooja Alva (Kar) 2:33.06; 2. Arti Ghorpade (Mah) 2:38.02; Harpreet Kaur (Del) 2:40.74; 4 x 100m medley relay: 1. Karnataka 4:49.45; 2. Delhi 5:00.50; 3. AP 5:28.42.
Diving: One-metre springboard: 1. Karishma Mohite (Kar) 122.95 points; 2. Hrutika Shriram (Rlys) 112.40; 3 Swati Vidap (Mah) 95.50.
Keywords: Federation Cup aquatics