Excitement was at a premium as favourites cruised to comfortable victories in almost every final on the concluding day of the 64th National aquatic championship at the Sawai Man Singh Stadium here on Saturday.
No fresh records were added to the seven made until Friday in this edition of the meet. With no addition to list of those achieving qualifying marks for the Commonwealth Games, the Swimming Federation of India (SFI) has finalised a list of around 15 men and women, including only those who have either achieved the qualification mark or have come the closest.
Indications are that Indian team will be announced in a day or two in New Delhi, where the final preparatory camp is due to start at the Shyama Prasad Mukherjee pool on September 1.
Sandeep Sejwal (in 100m breast stroke) and Richa Mishra (in 400m individual medley) finished their campaigns by winning gold medals without disturbing their own meet records. The Delhi-based duo received the ‘Best Swimmer' trophies in their respective sections.
Here, more than the medals won, the clinching factor was the number of records made by these swimmers. Sejwal re-wrote two meet records while Richa set a National record.
Karnataka retained the overall championship in swimming while Railway men and women won the diving team championships.
Railway's men also won the waterpolo title while the honour in the women's section went to Police. In terms of swimming medals, Maharashtra claimed 14 gold, five silver and nine bronze medals ahead of Karnataka which collected 12 gold, 15 silver and six bronze medals.
In the men's 1500m freestyle, silver-medallist of the last two editions, A.P. Gagan had his revenge when he foiled national record holder Mandar Divase's bid for a hat-trick of gold medals. Though Divase was clearly far from his best, Gagan returned an impressive time of 16:26.54 minutes, way ahead of the former.
Khade stops D'Souza
Similarly, National record holder Virdhawal Khade stopped meet record holder Aaron D'Souza from winning gold for the third successive year in the 100m freestyle.
D'Souza had the satisfaction of the claiming the 200m butterfly gold just ahead of vastly experienced Arjun Muralidharan.
Among the ladies, Goa's Talasha Prabhu ended her hunt for the gold in the 100m freestyle. Winner of silver medal in 2008 and bronze last year, Talasha stayed ahead of Maharashtra's Jyotsana Pansare and Karnataka's T. Sneha in a close finish.
Correction: In the sub-heading of the aquatics report from Jaipur, which appeared in these columns on August 27, the record setter Balakrishnan's name has been wrongly spelt. The error is regretted.
The results: Men: 100m freestyle: 1. Virdhawal Khade (Mah) 0:51.66; 2. Aaron D'Souza (Kar) 0:52.24; 3. J.P. Arjun (Rlys) 0:53.67. 1500m freestyle: 1. A.P. Gagan (Kar) 16:26.54; 2. Mandar Divase (Pol) 16:42.32; 3. Merwyn Chen (Rlys) 16:55.27. 100m breast stroke: 1. Sandeep Sejwal (Rlys) 1:04.33; 2. Puneet Rana (Har) 1:05.11; 3. J. Agnishwar (TN) 1:06.05. 200m butterfly: 1. Aaron D'Souza (Kar) 2:05.66; 2. Arjun Muralidharan (Pol) 2:05.87; 3. Tarun Tokas (Rlys) 2:10.26. 400m individual medley: 1. A.P. Gagan (Kar) 4:17.17; 2. Merwyn Chen (Rlys) 4:49.87; 3. Aditya Sangvekar (Rlys) 4:58.51.
Women: 100m freestyle: 1. Talasha Prabhu (Goa) 0:59.23; 2. Jyotsana Pansare (Mah) 1:00.07; 3. T. Sneha (Kar) 1:00.48. 100m breast stroke: 1. Poorva Shetye (Mah) 1:19.14; 2. Priyanka Priyadarshini (Del) 1:19:21; 3. Mankiran Kaur (Pun) 1:19.21. 200m butterfly: 1. Pooja Alva (Kar) 2:22.82; Aditi Dhumatkar (Mah) 2:23.67; 3. Rujuta Bhatt (Mah) 2:28.13. 400m individual medley: 1. Richa Mishra (Pol) 5:08.51; 2. Pooja Alva (Kar) 5:23.05; 3. Kanchi Desai (Mah) 5:24.26.
Diving (One-metre springboard): Men: 1. T. Hariprasad (Rlys) 264.60 points; 2. S. Rabi Kumar Singh (Rlys) 257.50; 3. Y. Hemjit Meitei (Jha) 218.00.
Women: 1. Hrutika Shriram (Rlys) 171.35; 2. Karishma Mohite (Kar) 152.05; 3. Swati Vidap (Mah) 120.20.
Water-polo: Men: Final: Railways bt Kerala 12-5. For third place: Bengal bt Maharashtra 13-8.
Women: Final: Police bt Karnataka 4-1; For third place: Kerala bt Maharashtra 6-5.
Best swimmer: Men: Sandeep Sejwal; Women: Richa Mishra.
Team championship (swimming): Men: Karnataka (140 points). Women: Maharashtra (165 points). Overall champion: Karnataka (264 points).
Team championship (diving): Men: Railways (24 points); Women: Railways (21 points).
Keywords: National aquatic championship