SOFLO’s Atkinson Finishes Fifth At Arena Santa Clara Grand Prix
WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB
June 2, 2013
In her sixth and final event of the Arena Santa Clara Grand Prix, Alia Atkinson of South Florida Aquatic Club finished fifth in the 100-meter breaststroke at the George F. Haines International Swim Center.
Atkinson, 24, a three-time Olympian for Jamaica, racing in Lane 4 in a bright pink suit next to world record holder Jessica Hardy, was hoping to race 1:07.8 on Sunday in her marquis event, but finished in 1:08.70.
Atkinson went out in 32.10, third-fastest in the field, but finished in 36.60.
Atkinson was seeded second behind Hardy going into the meet. Atkinson won her morning prelim heat in 1:08.84.
Hardy went out fast in 31.23 and finished in 35.63 to win the event in 1:06.86, fifth fastest time in the world this year.
Aussie Samantha Marshall, 20, was second in 1:08.00 and Laura Sogar, 22, was third in 1:08.41.
“I am trying to get back into racing shape and just enjoy the race,” Hardy said. “I thought I could do 1:06 tonight. I am headed in the right direction.”
In her other Sunday event, Atkinson was 37th in the 200-meter individual medley prelims in 2:23.53.
Earlier in the meet, Atkinson swam the 100-meter freestyle in 57.93, 100-meter butterfly in 1:03.93, 200-meter breaststroke in 2:33.51 and 50-meter freestyle in 26.22.
In other championship finals:
Women’s 200-meter butterfly: Two-time Canadian Olympian Audrey Lacroix, 29, won in 2:08.64, her fastest time this year. She had a 1/100th of a second lead at the halfway mark in 1:01.24 and pulled away by more than a body length from the field in the final 50 meters. “I tried to be consistent against a very good field,” she said. “This is a good race to gauge my training.”
Men 200 butterfly: Sixteen-year-old Californian Justin Wright of the Fresno Dolphins reeled in early leader Tyler Clary and upset the men’s field to win in a lifetime-best 1:57.90. Clary led at the midway mark in 56.80. “I went out a little slow in the first half but I trusted myself in that second half,” said Wright, who turns 17 on Monday.
Men 100-meter breaststroke: Kevin Cordes led a three-man race in the final 25 meters and pulled away to win in 1:00.47. New Zeland’s Glenn Snyders led at the halfway mark in 28.26 and finished second in 1:00.99. Felipe Lima of Fiat and Davie Nadadores was third in 1:01.21. “I was trying to get my stroke together in those last ten meters,” Cordes said.
Women 100-meter backstroke: Elizabeth Pelton out-touched Olympic teenager Missy Franklin, who came on hard in the end, to win the race she led from wire-to-wire. It was the first time in three years Pelton broke a minute. She was the leader at the halfway mark in 29.50. “This feels great,” Pelton said. “It shows me what I am capable of.” Franklin was second in 1:00.02. Pelton and Franklin will be teammates at Cal-Berkeley this fall.
Men 100-meter backstroke: In an exciting finish, Olympian Matt Grevers and Ark Vyatchanin tied for first in 54.47. Grevers led at the halfway mark with a 26.53 split but Vyatchanin made up ground on the back half. “I just wanted to finish, Grevers said.
Women 200 IM: In a replay of the 400 IM, Caitlin Leverenz took the lead on the breaststroke leg and cruised on the freestyle to win in 2:11.87. Olympian Missy Franklin was second in 2:13.56. “I know the breaststroke is my strength and I really have to use that to my advantage to make sure they can’t catch me,” Leverenz said. Four of the swimmers were coming off the 100 backstroke.
Men 200 IM: Olympian Ryan Lochte led after the first 100 in 54.42 with Conor Dwyer on his heels. Lochte pulled away on the breaststroke by more than a body length and went on to win in 1:58.07. Dwyer was second in 2:00.19. “I just like getting up on the blocks and racing,” Lochte said. “I need to work on the little things. I have a month to go back and clean up some things.” It was Lochte’s fourth win of the meet.
Women 800 freestyle: Teenager Gillian Ryan, 17, of North Baltimore Aquatic Club won in the final lap to sweep the meet’s distance events, winning the 800 in 8:36.49, edging Alexa Komarnycky, 23, of Island Swimming in 8:36.93. “I knew I had a chance if I put all into it,” Ryan said.
Men 1500 freestyle: In an exciting finish, Aussie teenager Mack Horton, 17, the early leader, held off Mateus Sawrymowicz of Trojan Swim Club to win in 15:13.67 to 15:14.08. Chad LaTourette was third in 15:28.22. “I am still breathing hard,” Horton said during his post-race interview.
For U.S. swimmers it was the final tuneup meet before the June 25-29 World Championship Trials/Phillips 66 National Championships in Indianapolis.
Sharon Robb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org