Swimming begins with butterfly specialist Astha Choudhury setting a National Games record

Astha Choudhury (Assam) claimed the honour of becoming the first swimmer to break a record as the National Games Aquatics competition commenced at the Sardar Patel Aquatics Complex here on Sunday.

She clocked 1:03.91 in the 100m Butterfly heats to take the Games record from Richa Mishra, who set it at 1:04.41 in Ranchi in 2011.

Incidentally, the Butterfly specialist had clocked 1:03.07 in Guwahati last month to claim the National Record too.

Tanishi Gupta (Karnataka) and Divya Satija (Haryana) were second and third fastest in the heats today.

Sajan Prakash, the Best Male Athlete of the 2015 National Games, started his quest to repeat that feat by entering two individual finals and the 4x100m Freestyle relay final with the Kerala team. On a day when his younger Olympic colleague, Srihari Nataraj, made his appearance only in the Freestyle relay heats, Sajan Prakash stated his intent in very clear terms.

Aware of the number of races that he will have to compete in his pursuit of that title, he was conservative in doing enough to make the finals in the 200m Freestyle and 100m Butterfly. Sajan Prakash opened with a 1:55.74 in the 200m Freestyle, his time being the fifth fastest in the heats behind rising star Aneesh S Gowda and Sambhavv Rao (both Karnataka), Gujarat’s big hope Aryan Nehra and Vishal Grewal (Delhi).

Vedaant Madhavan, who trains alongside Sajan Prakash in Dubai, also made it to the final. National champion Harsh Saroha (Haryana), who finished ninth, has been marked as a reserve for the final.

The vastly experienced Sajan Prakash breezed to the top of the 100m Butterfly qualifications with a time of 56.16 seconds. Sambhavv Rao also made it to his second final, clocking 57.47 though it was Assam’s Bikram Changmai (Assam) who was the second fastest of the qualifiers from the heats.

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