October 18, 2011
WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB
After a 12-year drought in major international swimming medals, Alia Atkinson gave Jamaica its first on Tuesday night at the XVI Pan American Games.
The 22-year-old two-time Olympian won the silver medal in the 200-meter individual medley in 2:14.75, her fifth national record time in four days at the Scotiabank Aquatics Center in Guadalajara, Mexico.
It was the SOFLO swimmer’s first major international medal at a major meet and Jamaica’s first medal in swimming at the Pan American Games since 1999 when Janelle Atkinson won three silver medals in Winnipeg, Canada.
After just getting out-touched for a bronze medal in the 100-meter breaststroke by fifteen hundredths of a second on Monday night, Atkinson was determined to bounce back. She was visibly upset after going out too fast and not hitting the touchpad hard enough at the finish. She was mad, according to her coach, and came back with a vengeance in the championship final.
Swimming in Lane 5, Atkinson took the race out hard and fast. She was second after the opening butterfly leg, fourth after the backstroke, moved back into second on the breaststroke and maintained her lead in the freestyle. Her splits were 28.89, 36.19, 37.49 and 32.18.
Initially, she and her coach, Chris Anderson, planned only to swim morning prelims and rest for Thursday’s 200-meter breaststroke, but after a solid swim decided to swim finals.
American Julia Smit defended her Pan American Games 200 IM title in 2:13.73 and Brazil’s Joanna Maranhao was third in 2:15.08. St. Thomas Aquinas alum Daniela Victoria of Venezuela and Davie Nadadores was eighth in 2:22.67. In the “B” final of the women’s 200 IM, Florida State’s McKayla Lightbourn of the Bahamas won in 2:20.62.
“This one was really exciting for me because I won this medal in 2007 Pan Ams and it was one of my goals to repeat,” Smit said.
Atkinson’s was Jamaica’s second medal overall. Badminton player Charles Pyne took a bronze in men’s singles also on Tuesday.
Atkinson was all smiles on the medal stand clutching her medal and blue stuffed toy mascot. She looked up at the flags being raised during the anthem ceremony and mouthed “wow.” At that moment, it hit her what she had just accomplished.
After a rest day on Wednesday, Atkinson will compete in the 200-meter breaststroke, her fourth and final event. She has recorded five national record swims in six races.
SOFLO teammate Arlene Semeco of Venezuela, the defending 100-meter freestyle champion, competes in the event on Wednesday.
The Americans won four of five gold medals and left Brazil in its wake on Tuesday night.
Julia Smit, Arthur Frayler, Sean Mahoney and women’s 4×200-meter freestyle relay team all won to give the U.S. team twelve gold medals through four days of swimming.
Brazil, the biggest U.S. challenger in the pool with six gold, failed to win a race for the first time at this year’s Games.
In the men’s 200-meter freestyle finals it was a family affair with brothers Brett and Shaune Fraser of the Cayman Islands going one-two, the first top two finish by siblings ever.
Brett Fraser led from start-to-finish and won by a half-body length to break the meet record in 1:47.18, the first of three meet records of the night. The previous record was 1:48.49 set by Gustavo Borges in 1995.
Shaune Fraser took the silver and Paraguay’s Ben Hockin took the bronze, his country’s first, in 1:48.48. Both Frasers are University of Florida products and 2008 Olympians.
Hockin competed in the 2008 Olympics for Britain before switching nationalities. Venezuela’s Daniele Tirabassi of Davie Nadadores was eighth in the 200 freestyle in 1:52.31. Florida State’s Mateo De Angulo of Colombia was 13th.
The U.S. men went 1-2 in the 1,500-meter freestyle. Arthur Frayler won in 15:19.59 and Ryan Feeley was second in 15:22.19. Argentina’s Juan Pereyra took third in 15:26.20. Venezuela’s Ricardo Monasterio, making his fourth Pan American Games appearance, was eighth in 16:05.64.
The U.S. finished one-two again in the men’s 200-meter breaststroke. Sean Mahoney won in 2:11.62 and Clark Burckle was second in 2:12.60, both breaking the Pan American Games record of 2:13.37 set in 2003. Brazil’s Thiago Pereira was third in 2:13.58.
Sagemont freshman student Jordy Groters of Aruba and Davie Nadadores was fifth in the 200-meter breaststroke “B” final in 2:27.10.
The U.S. women’s 800-meter freestyle relay team of Catherine Breed, Elizabeth Pelton, Chelsea Nauta and Amanda Kendall broke the third Pan American Games record in 8:01.18. Brazil was second in 8:09.89 and Mexico was third in 8:12.19.
Overall, the U.S. is leading in the overall medal tally with 63 overall including 24 gold medals. Brazil is second with 30 overall including 10 gold.
FINA/ARENA World Cup In Moscow
Rising star Missy Franklin outshined superstar Michael Phelps on the opening day of the FINA/Arena World Cup Series’ third city stop at the Olympiyskiy Swimming Pool in Moscow.
In front of a sellout crowd, Franklin won two events. Franklin tied Allison Schmitt in the 200-meter freestyle in 1:53.27 and won the 200-meter backstroke in 2:03.61, slower than her prelim time of 2:02.81.
Phelps won the 100-meter individual medley in 52.19 but lost the 200-meter butterfly. Japan’s Hidemasa Sano won in 1:51.62 and South African Chad Le Clos was second in 1:51.95. Phelps was a surprising third in 1:53.24 and failed to qualify for the 100-meter freestyle final. Phelps will swim the 200 freestyle, 200 backstroke and 100 butterfly on Wednesday.
Aussie Geoff Huegill won the 50-meter butterfly in 22.96. Swede Theresa Alshammar won the 50-meter freestyle in 24.27 and Germany’s Paul Biedermann won the 400-meter freestyle in 3:40.40.
Sharon Robb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org