Kolhapur boy Virdhawal Khade was the first to take the plunge and clocked a time of 22.73sec in the 50m Freestyle to finish 7th in his heat and 40 out of 97 overall. His time was 0.04sec off his best time of 22.69sec (National Record), which he clocked at last month's World Youth Swimming Championship semi-final. He was the fastest amongst those his age and younger and ranked third among the Asians.
Virdhawal, at the age of just 16, is well below the average age of a world class sprinter. The youngest and oldest to qualify for the semi-finals were 21 and 31yrs respectively. Based on the timings he is clocking today, in four years time Virdhawal will definitely be a force to reckon with. Virdhawal's next big meet is the Commonwealth Youth Games at Pune in October.
US based Indian swimmer, Ankur Poseria, was the next and last among the Indians to take the plunge. He clocked a time of 54.74sec in the 100m Butterfly and finished 57 out of 65 overall. His time was well below his best time of 53.68sec (National Record) which he clocked last December to qualify for the Olympic Games. Ankur has only recently started representing India in the big events and it will take him some time before he gets comfortable racing at this level.
With this the Indian participation at the Water Cube drew to a close. Among the four Indian swimmers Sandeep Sejwal and Virdhawal Khade stood out recording two and one best time respectively. Overall it has been a good experience for the Indian swimmers and I'm confident we shall see many of these faces back in the pool four years from now fighting it out for medals.