By Sharon Robb

December 5, 2013

Alia Atkinson of South Florida Aquatic Club, showing no signs of letting up after her successful FINA World Cup Series campaign, finished third in the 200-yard individual medley on opening day of the AT&T Winter National Championships.

The three-time Olympian from Jamaica finished in 1:54.85 behind Elizabeth Pelton of University of California in 1:54.15 and California teammate Celina Li in 1:54.25 Thursday night at the University of Tennessee’s Allan Jones Aquatic Center in Knoxville, Tenn.

Going into the event, Atkinson was seeded 60th in the 200 IM off her long course time of 2:18.33. She qualified eighth in morning prelims in 1:58.30.

On Friday Atkinson swims her signature event, the 100-yard breaststroke, where she is seeded first in 58.16. On Saturday, she swims the 200-yard breaststroke, where she is seeded sixth in 2:08.56.

Also competing on Friday is SOFLO’s Courtney Marx, 21, of Western Kentucky University making her national debut. She will compete in the 100-yard butterfly on Friday and 200-yard butterfly on Saturday.

Marx will return to South Florida during the holidays to train with her former SOFLO teammates. She will train throughout December.

Olympian Claire Donahue, who is also competing at nationals, will also train with SOFLO after the holidays. She is expected to start her winter training the last week of December.

SOFLO’s Melissa Marinheiro, coming off the state high school meet, will swim the 1,650-yard freestyle on Saturday. She is seeded 29th in 17:04.87, off her long course time.

In other Thursday night championship races:

SwimMac won the women’s 4×50-yard freestyle relay in a meet record 1:27.19 with Madison Kennedy, former University of Miami swimmer Kelsi Hall, Katie Meili and Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace. The previous record was 1:28.63 set by Arizona in 2012.

SwimMac swept the relays with the men winning in 1:17.06, another meet record with Tim Phillips, Dax Hall, Eric Knight and Cullen Jones. The previous record was 1:17.90 set by Southern California in 2010. California (1:17.28) with 18-year-old former Bolles swimmer Ryan Murphy, and Louisville (1:17.90) also dripped under the old meet record.

Katie Ledecky, 16, of Nation’s Capital outdueled Olympic teammate Missy Franklin, 18, of California in the 500-yard freestyle to win in 4:32.37. Franklin was second in 4:34.63.

Connor Jaeger, 22, of Michigan won the 500-yard freestyle in 4:14.05.

South African Darien Townsend, 28, of New York Athletic Club won the 200-yard individual medley in 1:41.88. Murphy won the “B” final in 1:45.75.

Natalie Coughlin, 31, of California Aquatics won the 50-yard freestyle in 21.51 ahead of Amanda Weir, 27, of Swim Atlanta in 21.62.

Nathan Adrian, 24, of California Aquatics won the 50-yard freestyle in 18.89 ahead of Josh Schneider of New York Athletic Club in 19.07.

With Franklin swimming anchor, California won the 4×100-yard medley relay in a meet record 3:29.91 with teammates Elizabeth Pelton, Urzainrina Garcia and Rachel Bootsma.

SwimMac won the men’s 4×100-yard medley relay in 3:06.57 with Nick Thomas, Dax Hill, Tim Phillips and Cullen Jones.

Other Florida Gold Coast results:

Women’s 500-yard freestyle: 22. Megan Moroney, St. Andrew’s Swimming, 4:49.83.

Men’s 500-yard freestyle: 23. Nick Schwab, Badger Swim Club, 4:25.55.

Men’s 200-yard individual medley: 41. Quinn Cassidy, St. Andrew’s Swimming 1:52.56.

Women’s 50-yard freestyle: 14. Arlene Semeco, Coral Springs Swim Club 22.94; 25. Rhi Jeffrey, Bernal’s Gators 23.13.

USA Swimming is hosting a live webcast of the prelims at 9 a.m. and finals at 5 p.m.

SOFLO’s Pinon Competes In France

Julien Pinon of South Florida Aquatic Club swam his first two events of the French Short Course National Championships on Thursday in Dijon, France.

Pinon, 15, a sophomore at Plantation American Heritage competing for Canet 66 Natation, finished 41st in the 50 freestyle in 24.20 and was 65th in the 400 freestyle in 4:02.98.

On opening night, Florent Manaudou broke a meet record in the 50 freestyle in 20.79, second fastest time in the world this year.

The meet features both elite and age group swimmers.

Pinon, 15, is coming off his team’s state title win and solid performance at the FGC Winter Championships which SOFLO swept for the first time in the program’s history.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

http://www.swim4soflo.com

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