Indian swimmer Apeksha Fernandes is on a tear this week at the India Junior National Championships in Bhubaneswar.
On Wednesday, she broke her 5th senior national record in 5 entries across 5 days at the meet.
While none of the times are yet globally relevant, her success does serve as a lurch forward for women’s swimming in the country, a year after the country’s men’s swimmers saw a similar surge, with multiple swimmers hitting Olympic “A” times for the first time in history.
For the 17-year old Fernandes won all 5 races that she entered in the 15-17 age group, breaking Meet Records, age group records, and senior national records in each.
- Day 1 – 100 breast – 1:12.83 (old record, Arora Chahat, 1:14.42, 2020)
- Day 2 – 50 breast – 33.49 (old record – Arora Chaht, 33.62, 2021)
- Day 3 – 100 fly – 1:01.94 (old record, Astha Choudhury, 1:02.71, 2021)
- Day 4 – 200 IM – 2:21.34 (old record, Richa Mishar, 2:23.62, 2010)
- Day 5 – 200 breast – 2:40.36 (old record, Saloni Dalal, 2:41.88, 2018)
Fernandes also holds the National Record in the 200 fly, having swum a 2:18.39 in June, though she didn’t swim that race at this meet.
The swims bring Fernandes closer to making finals at the regional Asian Swimming Championships, which have opportunities for swimmers from lesser swimming nations like India to grab spots behind the traditional powers of Japan and China that dominate. For example, her times in all five races would have qualified her for finals at the most recent Asian Swimming Championships in 2016.
In fact, India didn’t even send a women’s roster to the most recent Asian Games, though they sent 11 men (and very nearly won a medal).
With the 2022 Asian Games (and the 2020 Asian Championships) both delayed until next year, that gives Fernandes another year to develop, as she sits not far off the finaling times at the faster Asian Games either.
For full coverage of the meet, visit SwimSwam Hindi.