WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB
November 24, 2012
For the second day in a row, South Florida Aquatic Club’s Alia Atkinson broke a meet and Jamaican record at the Canada Cup at Etobicoke Olympium in Ontario, Canada.
Even better, she swam the fastest time in the world this year.
The three-time Jamaican Olympian broke her own meet and Jamaican record in the 50-meter breaststroke in 29.87 ahead of Canadian Olympian Martha McCabe.
Atkinson, 23, broke it first in morning prelims in 30.47 and again in finals. She was the only swimmer in the field to break 30 seconds.
Atkinson vaults into the No. 1 spot in the 2012 FINA world rankings ahead of American Olympian Jessica Hardy (29.92), Lithuania’s Rita Meilutyte (29.96) and Japan’s Satomi Suzuki (30.23).
With Atkinson’s five golds, the one-woman team scored 291 points to enable SOFLO to finish sixth among a field of sixty teams with more than one swimmer.
Atkinson, top seed in the 100-meter individual medley in a best time 1:02.80 (bettered her previous best 1:04.65), lowered her time even more winning finals in 59.96 for her fifth gold medal of the two-day meet. She was the only swimmer to break one minute in finals.
One event later, Atkinson, seventh seed in the 50-meter butterfly in 27.98, finished second in 26.85 behind 16-year-old Canadian Noemie Thomas in 25.99.
On Friday, Atkinson had broken the meet and her own Jamaican national record in the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:04.69. She also won gold medals in the women’s 200 IM and 50 freestyle.
SOFLO coach Chris Anderson decided to scratch Atkinson from the 200-meter breaststroke final because there wasn’t enough time between her other events, he said. Atkinson earned the top seed in 2:26.37, nearly four seconds ahead of the next fastest qualifier.
“She’s pretty beat up and tired right now,” Anderson said after the opening night. “We’re hoping that she’s going to do some good things in Turkey in December. She set herself up nicely for a medal at worlds at this meet.”
SOFLO’s Endi Babi, 24, was 34th in the 100-meter butterfly in 57.84.
Among other winners at the Canada Cup:
Robert Wise, 20, won the 1,500-meter freestyle in 15:16.79.
Heather MacLean, 20, won the 100-meter freestyle in 54.99.
Dominique Massie-Martel, 22, won the men’s 200-meter freestyle in 1:47.78.
Dillon Perron, 20, won the 100-meter breaststroke by .03 in 1:01.32 edging Warren Barnes
Karyn Jewell, 19, won the 400-meter individual medley in 4:40.36.
Edward Liu, 18, won the 100-meter butterfly in 53.12.
Lauren Lavigna, 23, won the 100-meter backstroke in 1:00.57.
Kelly Aspinall, 22, won the 50-meter backstroke in 24.41, .26 off Ryan Lochte’s 2006 meet record and won the 50-meter freestyle in 22.21.
Katerine Savard, 19, won the 200-meter butterfly in 2:08.52.
Andrew Ford, 23, won the 200-meter individual medley in 1:59.30.
Savannah King, 20, won the 400-meter freestyle in 4:08.43.
With Atkinson scratching, Martha McCabe, 23, won the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:23.20.
Matthew Myers, 19, won the 200-meter backstroke in 1:58.30.
SOFLO’s Quintero Medals In Colombia
Samuel Quintero, a top age grouper with the South Florida Aquatic Club, finished third in the 400-meter freestyle to bring home a bronze medal at the XXXVI Festival National Age Group Championships in Cartagena.
Quintero turned in a career-best time of 4:59.63.
Quintero has the 50- and 100-meter freestyles remaining in the meet before returning home with his family.
Camille Muffat of France broke the world record in the 400-meter freestyle on Day 3 of the European Short Course Swimming Championships in Chartres, France.
Muffat, after just missing the world mark during the FINA World Cup Series in 3:54.93, broke the record in 3:54.85. The previous record was 3:54.92 set by Joanne Jackson in 2009.
It was Muffat’s second short course world record after breaking the 800-meter freestyle mark by more than two seconds in 8:01.06 at the French Swimming Championships on Nov. 16. The previous record was 8:04.53 held by Italian Alessia Filippi in 2008.
“I really wanted to break that world record and I did,” Muffat told reporters after climbing out of the pool. “I am so happy. It’s a great feeling to win a gold medal again.” She was ecstatic on the medal podium waving the French flag to the crowd.
It was also a meet record breaking Laure Manaudou’s 2006 meet record of 3:56.09.
Muffat was also a member of the winning 200-meter freestyle mixed relay with teammates Fred Bousquet, Florent Manaudou and Anna Santamans that won in 1:29.64. Bousquet had a leadoff split of 20.97 and Manaudou had a 20.35 split. Russia and Finland were second and third.
At the 2012 London Olympics, Muffat won gold in the 400-meter freestyle, silver in the 200 freestyle and bronze as a member of the 4×200 freestyle relay.
Italy’s Gregorio Paltrinieri won the 1500-meter freestyle in 14:27.78, a three-second margin of victory. It was the fastest time in the world this year and tenth on the all-time list.
“This was really a hard race and I didn’t expect to win it,” Paltrinieri said.
In other races:
Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu won the 100-meter individual medley in 58.83 becoming only the 12th swimmer to dip under 59 seconds. “In the 100 IM there is just one thing to do and that is to swim as fast as you can,” Hosszu said.
Also in the 100 IM, 16-year-old Siobhan-Marie O’Connor of Great Britain won her first senior international medal with a third place in a best time 59.72.
Laszlo Cseh, also of Hungary, won the 200-meter butterfly in 1:52.11, fifth fastest time this year.
Vlad Morozov of Russia won the 100-meter freestyle in a textile-best world record 45.68.
Laure Manaudou of France won the 50-meter backstroke in 26.78.
Italy’s Fabio Scozzoli won the 50-meter breaststroke in 26.18, out-touching Aleksander Hetland of Norway in 26.20.
According to the American Swimming Coaches Association, nations competing at the 2012 London Olympics featured 82 swimmers from NCAA Division I colleges. The leading teams that placed swimmers on international Olympic swim teams were: Georgia (8), Cal-Berkeley (7), Florida (7), Southern Cal (7) and Texas A&M (7)…Alicia Coutts was named Australia’s Swimmer of the Year during the federation’s Gala Dinner…After a disastrous showing at the London Olympics, Michael Scott resigned as the British Swimming Performance Director.
Sharon Robb can be reached at email@example.com