Inter IIT Aquatics: The Sharks Strike Again



The men's team with all their winnings.
The men’s team with all their winnings.

IIT Madras’ bid for the General Championship at the 50th Inter IIT Sports Meet got off to a rousing start at the Inter IIT Aquatics Meet held at IIT Bombay on October 1-4, 2014. The men’s team won the swimming championship and placed third in the water polo championship. The women’s team wasn’t far behind, finishing second overall in the women’s swimming championships, their best finish in years.

Water Polo

The preparations of the teams were helped to a large extent by the now-functional swimming pool in campus. Training sessions, often over three hours long each, had resulted in the relatively inexperienced water polo team being high on confidence. Having been placed in a fairly easy group consisting of IIT Roorkee and IIT Guwahati, it got off to a winning start by beating IITG 11-1 and followed it up with a 13-5 victory against Roorkee. These performances had placed The Madras Sharks as favourites to defend their crown from the previous two years. However, the team considers itself unlucky to have

Sharks in action against IITG.
Sharks in action against IITG.

lost out in the semifinals to IIT Kanpur 8-9 (the eventual winners) through a last-minute penalty. While the nature of the defeat was heartbreaking, the team managed to pick itself up for the third place match the next day. Our opponents were IIT Roorkee, once again, and the scoreline too matched that of our first encounter against them.

The team saw plenty of positives for the future. The captain, Kartik Tyagi, was a standout performer in all the matches. Digvijay Mahra, playing in his first (and last) Inter IIT championship, proved an able replacement in goal. Anand Parikh, Harsh Dash, Akshay Krishna, Chaitanya Peddawad and Vipul Mann formed the core of the team. With a significant number of new faces, the playing style and tactical ability displayed by the IITM team was the highlight of the tournament.

Girls' team receiving the second place trophy.
Girls’ team receiving the second place trophy.

While the swimming competitions were largely won on the back of five record-breaking efforts by the captain Akshay Krishna (who also broke the prevailing records in five different events last year), this year saw contributions from a more diverse set of team members. This was reflected in the larger medal haul, with IITM beating IIT Kharagpur by a margin of 14 points as opposed to just 3 points the previous year. Ananda Krishnan, first year B.Tech. student, won three silver medals (50m, 100m backstroke and 100m freestyle) and finished fourth in the 200m freestyle, and will only improve on his performances in the future. Varun Murthy won silver in a 1500m freestyle event which saw the closest of finishes. It was good to see two Ph.D. students, Anirban Nag and Gayathri S., competing for the top places in their respective events. Anirban won a bronze medal in 200m freestyle and finished fourth in 400m freestyle, while Gayathri won bronze medals in 50m and 100m freestyle and 50m backstroke.

Madras also swept the relay events, winning the 4*100m freestyle and medley relays for boys and the 4*50m freestyle for girls. The men’s team, comprising Akshay Krishna, Ananda Krishnan, Anirban Nag and Kartik Tyagi, narrowly missed out on the record for the freestyle event. The medley relay saw a closer race, with Anirban’s butterfly leg proving to be the deciding factor. The girls’ team, consisting of Gayathri S., Aparnna Suresh, Aditi Malpani and Devika Ghate, won their relay event with ease too.

This being the 50th year of the Inter IIT championships, the hosts were under a cloud of expectations to deliver a special meet, and they did not disappoint. There was an effort to make the meet a more fun event for the competitors, with special programmes being organised every evening in order to facilitate more interaction among the contingents. One can only say that the participants of the Main Meet are in for a real treat when they land up in Mumbai in December.


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