November 13, 2013

With no challengers including Russian Yulia Efimova to race her, Alia Atkinson of South Florida Aquatic Club dominated the field in the women’s 100-meter breaststroke Wednesday on the opening day of the FINA World Cup Series in Beijing, China.

Atkinson, 24, returned to the 2008 Olympic pool and won her signature event in 1:03.81, finishing almost two seconds ahead of the field. Her best time in the event during the series has been 1:02.91. Britain’s Sophie Allen was second in 1:05.74.

On Thursday, the three-time Jamaican Olympian will compete in the 50-meter breaststroke and 100-meter individual medley to wind up her most impressive international swing. Beijing is the last stop of the eight-leg FINA World Cup series.

Atkinson, competing for the first time in every meet in the series, is having some of the best showings of her career and is having a breakout on the World Cup circuit.

Last week she broke her own national record in the 50-meter breaststroke in 28.94, bettering her previous best of 29.21. She also won gold in the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:03.48 and took a bronze in the 100-yard individual medley in 58.42.

Sharon Robb can be reached at