The 43rd National Sports Festival Games Swimming Championships were held on the 18th and 19th of September at the Sugathadasa Swimming Pool.
At the end of the 2-day event, the Western Province team emerged victorious, claiming 23 gold, 17 silver, and 18 bronze medals to add up to a total of 58 medals. In second place was the Central Province team securing 9 gold medals, 10 silver and 5 bronze with a total of 24 medals. In third place was the Sabaragamuwa Province with 1 gold medal, 3 silver and 1 bronze giving them a total of 5 medals. The North Western and Southern Province trailed behind failing to secure any gold medals.
Taking a look at the key swimmers for the Western Province team, Dilanka Shehan secured gold for his team in all his events whilst also managing to set 3 new meet records. Dilanka set meet records in the 400 LC Meter Freestyle event with a timing of 4:19.73, the 200 LC Meter Freestyle event with a timing of 1:59.21 and the 1500 LC Meter Freestyle event clocking in at 17:46.86. Dilanka was also a part of the relay team along with Deshaka Seenvirathna, Manula Cooray and Kaushal Manawadu who were placed first in the 4×200 LC Meter Freestyle.
N. Samarakoon was the key swimmer for the Western Province team from the women’s side of things. She was placed first in the 50 LC Meter Breaststroke event with a timing of 36.40 setting a new meet record and dominated the pool in the 100 LC Meter Breaststroke event as well clocking in at 1:19.92, a whole 6 seconds ahead of her closest competition. She set another meet record in the 200 LC Meter Breaststroke event with a timing of 2:50.07. R. N. Samarkoon’s expertise was in the breaststroke events as she dominated all lengths of the event. She also showed off her talents in swimming Freestyle, being a part of the relay that came first in the 200 LC Meter Freestyle event, swimming alongside J M Sandu Savindi, W Sanali Nuhansa, and Ishani Senannayake.
Ishani Senannayake also brought her team 3 gold medals winning the 800 LC Meter Freestyle event with a timing of 10:02.94, the 200 LC Meter Freestyle event clocking in at 2:16.08 while also setting a new meet record and the 400 LC Meter Freestyle event with record-breaking time of 4:51.57.
For runners up Central Province, C R Yogarathnam, was the top performer, claiming 3 golds. He was placed first in the 50 LC Meter Breaststroke event with a record-breaking time of 30.60 and he went on to dominate the 100 LC Meter Breaststroke event as well with a timing of 1:09.40 setting a new meet record. Yogarathnam was a master of the breaststroke technique as he won the 200 LC Meter Breaststroke event as well with a timing of 2:41.47.
After 2 days of intense competition, the 43rd National Sports Festival came to a close with 17 new meet records set during the course of the championship.