October 20, 2013

Alia Atkinson flirted with another world record Sunday on the FINA World Cup Series opening day in Doha, Qatar.

The three-time Jamaican Olympian from the South Florida Aquatic Club won the 100-meter breaststroke Sunday in 1:03.38 and pocketed another $1,500 for first.

For the second consecutive meet, Atkinson, 24, was making a run at the world record at the halfway mark but ran out of gas in the final 25 meters. She also just missed the record in Dubai last week.

Atkinson finished ahead of Russian Yulia Efimova whose time was a distant 1:04.68. Atkinson went out in 29.63. It was Atkinson’s third win in five breaststroke races during this year’s series.

Atkinson took a bronze medal in the 200-meter individual medley in 2:07.30 and added another $500. She also swam the 50-meter backstroke and finished 16th in 29.70.

On Monday, Atkinson will compete in the 50-meter breaststroke and 100-meter individual medley, where she will plans to go after the world record.

If Atkinson can earn the best performance of the meet, she could pick up significant bonus points which will determine who will be awarded the $153,000 in cluster money that will be distributed after the Doha meet.

Atkinson currently is ranked third with 968 points for her 1:03.38 100 breaststroke swim. Only each swimmer’s best time is considered.

Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu is first with 979 points and Ukraine’s Daryna Zevina is second with 972 points.

The top three performances at each series stop earns bonus points.

In Dubai, Atkinson earned the top performance honors for her 1:02.91 100 breaststroke time to total 990 points, 30 points ahead of Zevina and is ranked third overall in the current point standings (135 points).

Atkinson will not compete on the final three series legs in Singapore (Nov. 5-6), Tokyo (Nov. 9-10) and Beijing (Nov. 13-14). She is expected to return home on Wednesday morning with her SOFLO coach Chris Anderson.

In other Sunday performances:

Women’s 800-meter freestyle: Spain’s Mireia Belmonte won in 8:14.18. Teammate Melanie Costa was second in 8:17.66.

Men’s 400-meter individual medley: Chad Le Clos won his first event of the series in 4:03.23.

Men’s 100-meter freestyle: Russian Vlad Morozov won his fourth straight 100 freestyle title in 45.94. American Anthon Ervin took the silver and $1,000 in 46.64.

Women’s 200-meter freestyle: Hungary’s swimming queen Katinka Hosszu won in 1:53.53. She was fifth after the first 50 but made her way back with a 28.56 final 50 split.

Men’s 50-meter breaststroke: South African Roland Schoeman remained undefeated in the 2013 series with a win in 25.89.

Women’s 100-meter butterfly: Denmark’s Jeanette Ottesen-Gray won in 56.74, her slowest time of the series.

Men’s 100-meter backstroke: American Tom Shields won in 50.23 for the second straight meet.

Women’s 50-meter backstroke: Poland’s Aleksandra Urbanczyk won in 26.49.

Men’s 200-meter butterfly: Chad Le Clos led wire-to-wire to win in 1:50.39.

Women’s 200-meter individual medley: Katinka Hosszu of Hungary won in 2:05.45.

Men’s 400-meter freestyle: Aussie Bobby Hurley edged South African Myles Brown, 3:39.59-3:39.98. Brown led until the final 40 meters when Hurley put in a surge.

Women’s 50-meter freestyle: Dutch swimmer Ranomi Kromowidjojo cracked the 24-second mark to win in 23.69.

Men’s 200-meter breaststroke: Brit Michael Jamieson won by nearly three seconds in 2:05.93.

Men’s 100-meter individual medley: Aussie Kenneth To battled George Bovell of Trinidad & Tobago to win gold in 51.19. Morozov slipped into second in 51.49 and Bovell was third in 51.87.

Women’s 200-meter backstroke: Ukraine’s Daryna Zevina won in 2:01.17, just one second shy of Missy Franklin’s world short course meters record.

Men’s 50-meter butterfly: South African Roland Schoeman, 33, won his second gold medal of the day in 22.30 finishing ahead of Le Clos (22.41).

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com