Twenty-four hours after suffering twin defeats in freestyle events, Richa Mishra gave it all in the 200m individual medley to re-write her own National and meet records on the penultimate day of the 64th National aquatic championship here on Friday.
At the Sawai Man Singh Stadium pool where the conditions are far from ideal to set records, Tamil Nadu's M. B. Balakrishnan accounted for the day's other meet record on way to the regaining the 100m backstroke gold. This engineering student from Chennai had improved his 50m backstroke record on Thursday.
On a day when Virdhawal Khade and Talasha Prabhu emerged as the fastest swimmers of the meet, Tamil Nadu's J. Agnishwar claimed the gold in the 200m individual medley, ahead of freestyle specialist Aaron D'souza and breaststroke champion Sandeep Sejwal.
Curiously, this effort of Agnishwar effort of 2:11.13 minutes was slower than his silver-winning time of 2:10.15 clocked in 2008.
The day truly belonged to the experienced Richa who responded with a National record after her confidence was clearly dented by the surprise defeat in the 400m freestyle and ending up without a medal in the 200m freestyle on Thursday.
Richa, undefeated in the 200m individual events in domestic competitions since 2002, produced her life-best time of 2:23.62 minutes to eclipse her previous National record of 2:24.93 set in 2007 and her meet record of 2:25.00 recorded last year.
“After yesterday's performance, I thank god that I could win today with such a good time. After all, my hard work did not prove futile,” said a visibly pleased Richa, whose effort came without being pushed by the other medalists.
In the morning, Richa's nemesis in freestyle, Surabhi Tipre expectedly added a third gold by retaining the 1500m freestyle title in 18:05.73. At one time, this teenager looked well in sight of Richa's 2007 meet record of 18:00.64 but fell back.
After Richa displayed her resolve to win, Balakrishnan achieved his goal of breaking Rehan Poncha's 100m backstroke record but not without some help from the latter.
Flanked by Poncha, who preparing to peak for the Commonwealth Games and understandably not going flat out here, and Rohit Havaldar, Balakrishna could not have asked for a better lane in pursuit of the record.
Balakrishnan led from the start and gained from the challenges posed by Poncha and Havaldar. The 21-year-old clearly pushed himself more and more to cover the distance in 0:58.30 minutes, well inside Poncha's 2007 meet record of 0:59.12 and within striking distance of Ranajoy Punja's longstanding National record of 0:58.02 set in 1989.
Correction: On Thursday, August 26, it was M. B. Balakrishnan who improved upon his meet record in the 50m backstroke and not as mentioned in the report published on Friday.
Men: 50m freestyle: 1. Virdhawal Khade (Mah) 0:23.26; 2. J. P. Arjun (Rlys) 0:24.69; 3. Anshul Kothari (Guj) 0:24.78; 100m backstroke: 1. M. B. Balakrishnan (TN) 0:58.30 (NMR, old 0:59.12, Rehan Poncha in 2008); 2. Rehan Poncha (Kar) 0:59.98; 3. Praveen Tokas (Rlys) 1:00.21.
200m individual medley: 1. J. Agnishwar (TN) 2:11.13; 2. Aaron D'souza (Kar) 2:12.20; Sandeep Sejwal (Rlys) 2:14.69; 4x100m freestyle relay: 1. Karnataka (3:37.70); 2. Railways (3:40.07); 3. Maharashtra (3:46.97).
Women: 50m freestyle: 1. Talasha Prabhu (Goa) 0:27.50; 2. T. Sneha (Kar) 0:27.78; 3. C. Shubha (Kar) 0:28.07; 1500m freestyle: 1. Surabhi Tipre (Mah) 18:05.73; 2. Srishti Tandon (Raj) 19:07.97; 3. Sushaka Pratap (Kar) 19.28.65; 100m backstroke: 1. Jyotsna Pansare (Mah) 1:08.65; 2. Fariha Zaman (Kar) 1:09.23; 3. Heta Davey (MP) 1:10.45; 200m individual medley: 1. Richa Mishra (Pol) 2:23.62 (NR and NMR, old NR, Richa Mishra 2:24.93 in 2007) and old NMR, Richa Mishra 2:25.00 in 2009); 2. Pooja Alva (Kar) 2:29.12; 3. Talasha Prabhu (Goa) 2:31.87.
4x100m freestyle relay: 1. Maharashtra (4:10.98); 2. Karnataka
(4:15.40); 3. Tamil Nadu (4:25.00).
Diving (3-metre springboard):
Men: 1. Manesh Kumar (Ser) 276.65 points; 2. T. Hariprasad (Rlys) 267.05; 3. Hemjit Meitei (Jha) 199.85.
Women: 1. Hrutika Shriram (Rlys) 180.45; 2. Karishma Mohite (Kar) 161.60; 3. Swati Vidap (Mah) 151.80.
Men: Railways bt Maharashtra 13-5; Kerala bt Bengal 6-5.
Women: Police bt Maharashtra 7-5; Karnataka bt Kerala 7-5.