Ranchi: Rehan Poncha on Saturday won his fifth gold medal to help Karnataka retain the top position with 18 gold medals on the penultimate day of the 65th Senior National Aquatic Championship.

Poncha finished on top in the men's 200 metres individual medley, clocking 02:07:95 and then helped the Karnataka quartet set a national record in the 4x100 metres free style relay with a timing of 03:34:55, bettering their own previous timing of 03:37:63 set in 2009.

"I was not sure till three weeks ago whether to take part in the competition, but took a last minute decision after consulting my coach. I hope I get a sixth gold tomorrow," Poncha, who is aiming a berth in the London Olympics, said.

Poncha's effort in the 200 metre individual medley was all the more satisfying as he pushed Olympic qualifier Sandeep Sejwal to the second position.

"It's not my main event, (yet) it's my best time," Sejwal said after settling behind Poncha for the silver.

Police team's Richa Mishra continued her winning spree as she collected her fifth gold as also her team's, winning the 200 metre individual medley, beating down a double challenge from Karnataka girls - Pooja R Alva and Bhoomi R Motwani.

Alva and Bhoomi settled for silver and bronze medals respectively.

However, Mishra was well short of her own national record of 02:23:62 set last year in the event and managed 02:25:33.

Mishra's 2007 national record in the 1500 metres free style event was broken by Karnataka's Surabhi Tipre (17:46:38), erasing earlier record of 18:00:64.

Karnataka's Rohit Havaldar (01:00:48) won the gold in the men's 100 metres backstroke, while Anshul Kothari romped home winner in the 50 metres men's free style clocking 00:24:08.

Arti Ghorpade (01:08:75) snatched the yellow metal in the women's100 metre backstroke, while Goa's Talasha Prabhu (00:27:52) clinched the women's 50 metre freestyle gold.

Karnataka women's quartet of Kshipra Mahajan, Pooja R Alva, T Sneha and Surabhi Tipre won the women's 4X400 metres freestyle relay gold clocking 04:08;96.

RSPB's Hrutika Shriman (212.15 points) set a national record in the women's spring board competition, beating her own record of 202.95 set in 2008.

T Hariprasad of RSPB won the men's spring board securing 286.95 points.

With 36 medals -- 18 gold, nine silver, nine bronze -- Karnataka tops the medal chart with the Police team way behind at 11 medals -- five gold, four silver and two bronze medals.

(Agencies)