India’s Makhija wins silver in South African junior swimming

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Port Elizabeth, March 22 (IANS) Indian swimmer Aryan Makhija clinched a silver medal in the 1,500 metres freestyle event in the Under-18 category at the South African Level 3 National Swimming Championships here on Tuesday morning.

The Mumbai kid clocked a time of 16.42.28 seconds while Johannesburg’s Roberto Gomez won the gold, recording 16.21.93. Aryan and Roberto were engaged in a keen tussle at the halfway mark but the South African gradually built up a lead to finish strongly.

Aryan’s prowess in the event was evidenced by the fact that the 16-year-old finished a full 13 seconds before Christopher Aubin, who won bronze.

Aryan is part of a seven-strong contingent of Indian swimmers who are training under South African coach Graham Hill, who is Olympic champion Chad Le Clos’ personal coach, on a year-long scholarship funded by the JSW Sports Excellence Programme. The seven train at Durban’s Seagulls Swimming Club and study at Glenwood High School.

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Hill said he was pleased by Aryan’s effort and his commitment in what was a difficult race.

“The 1500m event is always a tough one as it requires the swimmer to ration his effort and peak at the right moments. It looked like Aryan had a pretty good understanding of that. He did well but I believe that he can go faster in certain segments and we will work on that,” he said.

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