BY SHARON ROBB
November 14, 2013
For all her hard work and dedication to the sport, both in and out of the pool, South Florida Aquatic Club’s Alia Atkinson was richly rewarded.
The three-time Jamaican Olympian ended a successful run in the 2013 FINA World Cup Series Thursday in Beijing, China and finished with her biggest payday ($136,000) as a professional.
Atkinson, 24, finished ranked second behind Katinka Hosszu of Hungary in the top three World Cup rankings and was awarded $50,000 after finishing with 288 points, just eight points ahead of Spain’s Mireia Belmonte.
Hosszu, the defending World Cup champion known as the Iron Lady, earned $100,000 for the second consecutive year. Hosszu won 55 medals (32 gold, 12 silver, 11 bronze) during the series.
Atkinson also earned $30,000 after finishing third behind Hosszu and Alicia Coutts of Australia with 114 points in the third cluster rankings for the Asian leg.
Atkinson earned $136,000 in prize money overall, the second most among women swimmers, for the entire series.
South African Chad Le Clos walked away with $150,000 after finishing first in the World Cup ratings ($100,000) and first in the third cluster ($50,000). Le Clos won 35 medals (24 gold medals, 8 silver, 3 bronze).
More than $2 million in prize money was awarded throughout the series.
The series produced 23 world records and 33 World Cup records. Overall, 83 men and 76 women from 30 nations earned medals.
In her final series meet at the Water Cube in Beijing, Atkinson won the 50- and 100-meter breaststroke and picked up a silver in the 100-meter individual medley.
On Thursday, Atkinson won the 50-meter breaststroke and 100-meter individual medley. It was Atkinson’s fourth World Cup victory in the 50-meter breaststroke. She won in 29.20. Atkinson took silver in the 100-meter individual medley in 58.71.
Atkinson opened the meet on Wednesday with a win in the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:03.81.
Atkinson, competing for the first time in every meet in the series, had some of the best showings of her career and had a breakout World Cup circuit vaulting her even higher in the international spotlight and bringing international exposure for Jamaica swimming, in the shadow of track and field.
Sharon Robb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org