WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB
November 6, 2013
Alia Atkinson of South Florida Aquatic Club knocked off pre-race favorite Yulia Efimova of Russia in the 50-meter breaststroke to win her second gold medal of the FINA World Cup Series on Wednesday at the Singapore Sports School.
Atkinson sprinted to a Jamaican national record in 28.94, winning her third sprint breaststroke title in series’ six meets.
Atkinson bettered her previous best of 29.21 set in Berlin. It is also the fastest time ever done by a Jamaican swimmer in the country’s history.
It was the second fastest time in the world this year and just 0.14 off the world record American Jessica Hardy (28.80) set in 2009.
Efimova was second in 29.25.
Atkinson emerged as the leading female swimmer of the Singapore leg, outshining Hungarian Katinka Hosszu and bettering her personal best for 985 points. Atkinson’s breaststroke swim was the best performance of the meet. Hosszu was runner-up with 982 points.
Atkinson, not shaved for the meet, burst into the lead with a great start and pushed the pace in the first half of the race to lead from wire-to-wire.
The three-time Olympian for Jamaica opened the meet on Tuesday winning the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:03.48, her fourth win in her signature event.
She also took the bronze medal in the 100-meter individual medley in 58.42, also on Tuesday, behind Katina Hosszu and Alicia Coutts. She was only 1/10th of a second out of second.
“This is the first time I am competing in every single meet in the series,” Atkinson said.
“I always hope to improve my times from the first to the third leg in each cluster so I am very happy with the times on this first leg. I hope to continue to improve in Tokyo and Beijing.
“I am a big fan of the Asian cluster and I definitely want to be back, especially in Singapore and Japan. The atmosphere makes it a great place to be.”
Atkinson is sitting pretty and gaining on Spain’s Mireia Belmonte for second place in the overall series standings and cluster for another big pay day. Atkinson is second with 54 points among provisional leaders of the third cluster and second with 228 among provisional leaders of the World Cup after the sixth meet.
“She shaves in three days,” said SOFLO coach Chris Anderson who is coaching Atkinson during the Asian leg. “All we need now is a safe flight, two good workouts and keep developing her core.
“We already have the new suit and now we just need three world records,” Anderson said, referring to the 50- and 100-meter breaststroke and 100-meter individual medley.
The seventh and last stages of the FINA World Cup will be held in Tokyo, Nov. 9-10 and Beijing, Nov. 13-14.
In other races:
Men’s 50-meter backstroke: American Eugene Godsoe won in 23.12, just .14 seconds ahead of Aussie Bobby Hurley for his second gold medal of the meet. He also won the 100-meter backstroke.
Women’s 200-meter butterfly: German swimmer Franziska Hentke just edged Katinka Hosszu, who was undefeated in the event, in 2:04.42. Hosszu had won all five races coming into this meet.
Men’s 1500-meter freestyle: South African Myles Brown continues to leave a lasting impression in distance swimming with his win in 14:56.94.
Women’s 400-meter individual medley: Hungarian Katinka Hosszu remained undefeated in this event in 4:27.60.
Women’s 100-meter freestyle: Aussie Cate Campbell won in 51.67 to sweep the sprint events.
Men’s 200-meter freestyle: South African Chad Le Clos won in 1:42.29 for his first win of the series in the event.
Men’s 100-meter breaststroke: Hungarian Daniel Gyurta outclassed the field to win in 57.31. Brazilian Felipe Lima, who trains in South Florida with Alex Pussieldi, took another bronze in 58.29.
Men’s 100-meter butterfly: Le Clos won his second event of the day with a late surge to win in 50.04 after being fourth at the turn.
Women’s 100-meter backstroke: Hosszu swam a national record and lifetime best time to win in 57.04.
Men’s 200-meter individual medley: Le Clos won his third gold medal of the day in 1:53.36 with a dominating race.
Women’s 400-meter freestyle: New Zealand’s Lauren Boyle, who already had the 800 freestyle gold, took the 400 gold in 4:00.78.
Men’s 50-meter freestyle: Russian Vlad Morozov won the event for the fifth time in six meets in 20.78. Trinidad and Tobago’s George Bovell was second in 21.20 and American Anthony Ervin was third in 21.26.
Women’s 200-meter breaststroke: Russia’s Yulia Efimova got her first gold of the day winning in 2:18.33.
Women’s 100-meter individual medley: Hosszu was first in 58.29 ahead of Aussie Alicia Coutts in 58.32.
Men’s 200-meter backstroke: American Eugene Godsoe won his second gold of the day in 1:50.56.
Women’s 50-meter butterfly: Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrum won in 25.34.
Mixed 200-meter freestyle relay: Brazil won the event in 1:31.02 with Nicholas Oliveira, Fernando Silva, Larissa Oliveira and Graciele Hermann.
Sharon Robb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org