WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB
October 17, 2013
Alia Atkinson had the race of her life on the opening day of the FINA World Cup Series in Dubai.
The Jamaican three-time Olympian and South Florida Aquatic Club swimmer broke her own national record and came within a half-second of breaking the world record in the 100-meter breaststroke on Thursday.
Atkinson, 24, broke the Jamaican national record in a lifetime-best 1:02.91, nearly two seconds off her best of 1:03.41 which she swam in Eindhoven earlier during the World Cup Series.
“Now she is racing,” wrote SOFLO head coach Chris Anderson, who witnessed the swim in person. “Her confidence is there.”
Atkinson was just off the world record of 1:02.36 that 16-year-old Lithuanian Ruta Meilutyte broke last week in Moscow. Meilutyte is sitting out the Dubai meet.
It was the third fastest 100-meter breaststroke of all time and moved her into second in the world rankings for short course meters.
Russian Yulia Efimova, the 50-meter breaststroke world champion, was second behind Atkinson by more than a second in 1:04.00. Israel’s Amit Ivry was third in 1:06.70. The event featured 24 swimmers.
In her opening event, Atkinson finished sixth in the 50-meter backstroke in 27.82.
On Friday, Atkinson will swim the 50-meter breaststroke. She is seeded first in the third of three heats and with a seed time of 29.21 and is the fastest swimmer in the field of 30 swimmers. She will also swim the 100-meter individual medley. She is seeded third (58.97) in the fifth of five heats.
In other Thursday races:
Women’s 800-meter freestyle: Spain’s world record holder Mireia Belmonte won in 8:14.12. Her splits were 4:09.01 and 4:05.11.
Men’s 400-meter individual medley: Hungarian David Verraszto won in 4:05.30, faster than his Moscow win of 4:06.92.
Men’s 100-meter freestyle: Russian Vlad Morozov dominated the event again winning in 45.84. It was his fourth win on the World Cup Series. American Anthony Ervin was second in 46.88.
Women’s 200-meter freestyle: Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu returned to the medal stand with a win in 1:53.21.
Men’s 50-meter breaststroke: South African Roland Schoeman won in 25.96.
Women’s 100-meter butterfly: Denmark’s Jeanette Ottesen, coming off a shoulder injury suffered earlier this year, out-touched Hosszu to win in 56.47. Hosszu finished in 56.87.
Sharon Robb can be reached at email@example.com