Aquatics Nationals: DSouza breaks record

Ranchi: Armed with Aaron Agnel D`Souza`s rich haul of seven golds, Karnataka finished at the top with 23 yellow metals in the 65th Senior National Aquatic Championships which ended here on Sunday.

The Karnataka men fiercely fought even among themselves with D`Souza shattering compatriot Rehan Poncha`s hopes of getting a sixth gold and pushing him to the second place in men`s 200 m butterfly stroke with a handsome timing of 02:02:22 as against Poncha`s 02:04:38.

D`Souza proved he was a better bet than Poncha to qualify for the Olympics when he broke his own national record in the 100 metres free style event clocking 00:51:15. In 2009, he had set the mark at 00:51:43 in the event.

"I am happy with my performance here as I collected seven gold and a silver. Now my eyes are set on qualifying for London Olympics," D`Souza said. "I was equal with Aaron in the first three laps, before falling behind. That is where fitness matters. But I know it is there in me and I will come back after a brief break," Poncha, who took five gold medals in this competition, said after settling for silver in this event.

Olympic qualifier Sandeep Sejwal of RSPB improved upon his own national record in his main 100 metre breast stroke event rewriting it with a timing of 01:01:97.

"It`s the best timing without suit. There will be no rest for me, I will continue training till the London Olympics," Sejwal, who bagged four gold medals in the competition, said.

Karnataka`s Saurabh Sangvekar took his fifth gold — three individual and two in relay — when he returned a national record timing of 15:51:10 in the 1500 free style event.

M Raghavi of Tamilnadu set a national record of 01:18:55, wiping out V Tejaswini`s 01:18:66 set in 2006 in the 100 metre breast stroke.

Karnataka`s Pooja Alva took her third gold after she won the women`s 200 metres butterfly stroke posting 02:22:28, while fellow state-mate Surabhi Tipre finished first in the 100 metre free style clocking 01:00:28 way behind Shikha Tendon`s 2003 national record of 00:58:91.

With a total of 43 medals — 23 gold, 11 silver and 9 bronze — Karnataka emerged as the champion in the overall medal standing. RSPB pushed the Police team to third place bagging 18 medals — five gold, seven silver and six bronze.

The Police team finished with five gold, five silver and three bronze while Tamilnadu secured three gold medals, two silver and four bronze medals to finish in the fourth position.