Swimming Nationals: Rujuta breaks 20-year-old record

HYDERABAD, July 4: Maharashtra’s Rujuta Khade stole the limelight, obliterating a 20-year-old national mark while Aryan Nehra continued his record-breaking spree at swimming nationals here on Tuesday.

Rujuta clocked 26.47s to win the gold in the 50m women’s freestyle event ahead of state mate Anannya Nayak, who timed 26.64s while Karanataka’s Nina Venkatesh touched the pads at 26.73s to take home the bronze.

In the process, Rujuta shattered the earlier national record of 26.61s that stood in Shikha Tandon’s name since 2003. Rujuta’s husband, 2010 Asian Games bronze medallist Virdhawal Khade won the 50m men’s freestyle — the fastest race at the ongoing meet. The 22.82s time wasn’t Virdhawal’s best but the seasoned swimmer still managed to finish ahead of youngsters Mihir Ambre (22.96) and AS Anand (23.30) who clinched the silver and bronze medals respectively.

Aryan, meanwhile, continued to go about his business as he rewrote yet another record in the 1500m free-style for men. He timed 15:29.76 and such was his domination that the second-placed swimmer — national record holder Delhi’s Kushagra Rawat (15:45.62) finished over 15s behind the Gujarat swimmer.

Advait Page, who holds the ‘Best Indian Time’ of 15:23.66 in the event, was even slower, finishing with a time of 16:07.27. In swimming, timing is considered a national record when it has been achieved at the Nationals also known as the National Aquatic Championships. Hence, the timings clocked in other meets are called the ‘Best Indian time’. It was Aryan’s third national record in as many days. The 19-year-old had created new 400m and 800m freestyle national records earlier.

Sajan Prakash was also back on the podium, the 29-year-old, representing the All India Police Sports Control Board, clocked 1:59.37 to win the gold in the men’s 200m butterfly.

In the 50m women’s backstroke event, Karnataka’s Suvana C Bhaskar swam her way to the gold medal with a time of 29.63. Not only did she beat Maana Patel, who finished second, but Suvana also rewrote Maana’s national record. The Maharashtra quartet of Rujuta, Palak Joshi, Apeksha Fernandes and Anannya reigned supreme in the women’s 4x100m medley ahead of Karnataka and Bengal. PTI