Rajkot boy Aryan Nehra set the pool on fire by winning four golds with record timings. He was declared the best swimmer in his age group at the Gujarat State Aquatic Championship, 2016 which concluded in Ahmedabad on Sunday.
Aryan created waves on Saturday when he left other swimmers in his wake and clinched 200-metre freestyle gold in sub-junior category for boys. He clocked 2:13:87 minutes to finish on the podium and knocked off the previous state record of 2:22:99 minutes in the process. This was followed by another dominant performance in 200-metre individual medley (IM) as he won gold by improving his own state record by around seven seconds. His timing of 2:34:41 on Saturday was huge improvement on his own record of 2:39:78 set last year.
The gold run continued further when Aryan led Rajkot team to a victory in 4×50 freestyle relay by beating teams from traditional powerhouse Ahmedabad and other cities like Vadodara and Surat.
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On the second day of the championship, the young swimmer’s performance got only better as he maintained his lead over the competitors in shorter distances. He improved his own record by 0.71 second on his way to winning the third individual gold by clocking 30.90 seconds in 50-metre butterfly event. His previous record, that he had set last year stood at 31.61 seconds.
While he couldn’t swim his Rajkot team to another gold as they finished second in 4×50 medley relay, all eyes were on the 12-year-old again when it was time for the showpiece 100 freestyle event on Sunday evening. He had already caught attention of coaches and trainers by his performance over the previous three sessions. Rising to the occasion and stamping his authority, Aryan overshadowed another state record and won the gold in 1:03:04 minute. It was 0.15 second off the previous record of 1:03:19 held by Shiven Brahmbhatt of Ahmedabad.
In the Group-III of sub-junior category, a swimmer is allowed to take part in maximum four individual categories. Aryan swam in all four and won golds with new records. Fittingly, he was adjudged the best swimmer in his category in the championship. “His performance is better than our expectations. Especially, it is very tough to improve from 2:39 in 200 IM. But he has improved that by around seven seconds. So, it is very satisfying. The fact that he helped Rajkot team win gold and silver in relay is also a matter of pride. Now, we shall see how he performs at the national championship to be held in July this year,” said Aryan’s father Vijay Nehra who is municipal commissioner of Rajkot. Aryan had started swimming around three years back. He is being coached by Kamlesh Nanavati in Ahmedabad and others in Rajkot. He had been undergoing training in Bangalore for the last two months before the state championship.