Saurabh Sangvekar moved into the spotlight with a 400m freestyle India best time (3:58.62), continuing the trend of international swimmers discovering ways to push themselves at the 66th Enerzal senior National aquatics.

Keeping the 2013 World championships ‘B’ qualifying standard of 3:57.58 firmly in sight, the Karnataka swimmer took charge of the race in the third lap, beating statemate Gagan to the second spot.

Mandar Divase, who owned the previous best (3:59.72), came in third. With superior rivals to push him at the forthcoming 2012 Asian Championships, qualifications for the WC is within Saurabh’s reach.

He is one of four London aspirants who were denied a chance to compete at the 2012 Olympic Games after achieving the ‘B’ standard time in the men’s 1,500m freestyle due to FINA restriction on entries.

Gagan’s 4:00.76 at the Balewadi pool on Wednesday was also an improvement over the previous meet mark (4:01:35).

Saurabh and Gagan teamed up with Rohit Havaldar and Aaron D’Souza to win the 4x200m freestyle relay for Karnataka in a meet record time of 7:48.98 (previous 7:58.36).

M.B. Balakrishnan gave an indication of form in the 50m backstroke with a meet record in the heats. He clocked 27.16 to better Aaron D’Souza’s 27.23 set last year.

The Tamil Nadu teenager returned to win with a slower 27.24, nosing ahead of Aaron.

“I tried to qualify for London but did not, so took a break without realising that major events were coming up,” said the backstroke winner.

Balakrishnan holds the India best time of 26.96 clocked in a trial event prior to the CWG, so there is a lot of catching up to do. An aspiring engineer, he is looking to clear the first interview for a Rhodes scholarship. “I want to train in the USA where swimming is of a higher calibre, balancing studies as well.”

Maharashtra leads the medals tally (eight golds, four silvers, seven bronzes) followed by Karnataka (seven golds, eight silvers and six bronzes) and Police (four golds, one silver and four bronzes).

The Results: Finals: Men: 50m backstroke: 1. M. Balakrishnan (TN) 27.24, 2. Aaron D’Souza (Kar) 27.77, 3. Rohit Havaldar (Kar) 27:96. 100m butterfly: 1. Veerdhawal Khade (Mah) 54.92 (NMR, OR 55.17), 2. Sajan Prakash (RSPB) 55.84, 3. Arjun Muralidharan (Pol) 57:64. 400m freestyle: 1. Saurabh Sangvekar (Kar) 3:58.62 (NR, OR 4:01.35), 2. Gagan (Kar) 4:00.76 (BMR), 3. Mandar Divase (Pol) 4:08:40. 4x100m freestyle relay: 1. Karnataka (Gagan, Rohit, Saurabh, Aaron) 7:48.98 (NMR, OR 7:58.36), 2. RSPB (Sajan, G. Mohan, Mervyn Chen, Sarma Nair) 8:08.51, 3. Maharashtra (Amar Muralidharan, Aniket Shedge, Apurva Sharma, Virdhawal) 8:20:12.

Diving 3m springboard: 1. Ramananda Sharma (SSCB) 336.50 points, 2. Rabi Kumar Singh (RSPB) 311.70, 3. Manesh Kumar (SSCB) 286.75.

Women: 50m backstroke: 1. Jyotsana Pansare (Mah) 31.60, 2. Sony Cyriac (Ker) 31.99, 3. Mana Patel (Guj) 32.96. 100m breaststroke: 1. Pooja Alva (Kar) 1:04.62, 2. Aditi Dhumatkar (Mah) 1:05.56, 3. Jyotsana 1:05.69. 400m freestyle: 1. Richa Mishra (Pol) 4:29.17, 2. Surabhi Tipre (Kar) 4:29.92, 3. Aakansha Vora (Mah) 4:37.91.

Diving 3m springboard: 1. Hrutika Shriram (RSPB) 154.20 points, 2. Genevieve D’Costa (Goa) 129.55, 3. Radhika Apte (MP) 116.80.

Water polo (league): Men: Maharashtra bt Kerala 8-3, RSPB bt Bengal 3-1, SSCB bt Punjab 9-2, Police bt Delhi 6-1.

Women: Police bt Maharashtra 2-1, Karnataka bt Manipur 13-0, Kerala bt Bengal 3-0.

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