THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:That's the toast of the season! Four Indian swimmers have booked their berths for the upcoming FINA World Championships to be held in Kazan, Russia from July. This is for the first time that more than two swimmers from the country have qualified for the prestigious competition.
While Sajan Prakash made the cut in the Senior National Aquatics Championships in Kolkata in November, Aaron D'Souza, Virdhawal Khade, and Sandeep Sejwal achieved the feat at the International Aquatics Complex, Pirappancode here during the ongoing 35th National Games.
Kerala-lad Sajan, who has already fetched six medals including four gold in the Games, had set a new national record in the 1500m freestyle at the Senior Nationals, clocking in at 15:45.83 secondss to finish inside the B-1 entry mark of 15:45.97. Sajan also qualified in 200m butterfly, timing in at 2:00.69 secs, against a cut off time of 2:01.48 secs.
Aaron D'souza of Bengaluru, who won the 200m freestyle with a new Games record of 1:52.06 also qualified for the Worlds. The B-1 entry mark for his event was 1:52.16.
Virdhawal Khade, who made a return to swimming in November after ending a two-year hiatus, caught the Kazan bus, courtesy of his record-creating show in the 50m freestyle. Touted as the fastest Indian in the pool, Khade finished in 0:23.00, just inside the cut-off mark of 0:23.03.
Asian Games bronze-medalist Sandeep Sejwal was impressive as he won the slot in 200m breaststroke. Sejwal registered an impressive time of 2:13.53 against the cut-off mark of 2:16.32. However, all of the female swimmers will miss the Kazan trip.