By Sharon Robb
September 1, 2014—South Florida Aquatic Club’s Alia Atkinson continued her domination of the breaststroke events Monday at the FINA/Mastbank World Cup at the Hamdan Sports Complex in Dubai.
The three-time Jamaican Olympian won the 50-meter breaststroke in 29.12 ahead of American Breeja Larson (29.98) and Austria’s Lisa Zaiser (31.31).
Atkinson has swept the 50- and 100-meter breaststroke events in both Doha and Dubai, the opening cluster of the FINA series.
Atkinson added a silver medal in the 100-meter individual medley in 58.26.
After qualifying first in morning prelims of the 50-meter butterfly, she was fourth in 26.63.
Atkinson returns home with a nice paycheck for less than a week’s worth of work. She won $4,500 in Dubai and earned $37,000 in prize money ($30,000 in cluster bonuses). Atkinson is third in performance bonus points with 967.
Hungarian Katinka Hosszu broke her own world record in the 100-meter individual medley during morning prelims in 56.86, becoming the first woman in history to swim the event under 57 seconds. It was her fifth world record over four days of competition.
“I feel really good, I’m really surprised at the time,” Hosszu said. “Maybe I shouldn’t have gone so fast. Swimming is not like track and field or something where you can set it to break the record. In swimming, you just have to give it all you have.”
Hosszu had another great night in Monday’s finals.
Hosszu won the 400-meter individual medley in 4:22.06. Spain’s Mireia Belmonte took silver in 4:27.66 and American Caitlin Leverenz was third in 4:30.72.
Hosszu also won the 100-meter backstroke in 55.77. Bolles’ Carolina Colorado of Colombia took the bronze in 58.73.
Hosszu won her third event of the night in the 200-meter butterfly in 2:04.68. She won her eighth race of the meet in the 100-meter individual medley in 57.75 after breaking the world record in prelims.
Hosszu took a bronze in the 50-meter butterfly in 26.14.
Hosszu has already earned $125,000 in prize money including $32,500 in Dubai and $50,000 in cluster bonuses which includes her world record cash.
South African Chad le Clos leads the men’s standings with $60,500 in total prize money including $6,000 won in Dubai and $50,000 in cluster bonuses.
The 25-year-old Hosszu is right on schedule two years out from the 2016 Rio Olympics.
“It feels pretty good,” she said. “The amazing part is that last year and the year before, I would swim four races in an afternoon and I would get so tired that I was just so happy to get on the podium in some of them.
“Now, I’m like pretty close to the world record in all four of them, so it’s really amazing. I’m really happy that I can see that I’m improving and that what I am doing is right. We have a four-year plan since London to Rio and we are halfway there and it seems we are doing a pretty good job. I just have to stay focused and do the same things I’m doing right now.”
In other championship finals on Monday night:
Hungarian Gergo Kis won the 1500-meter freestyle in 14:53.06. Kis came from behind to overtake early leader David Verraszto, also of Hungary, in the final 100 meters. Verraszto was second in 14:54.69.
Inge Dekker of the Netherlands won her third event of the meet in the 100-meter freestyle in 52.01. Aussie Marieke D’Cruz was second in 53.03. Dekker also won the 50-meter butterfly in 24.59.
Aussie Thomas Fraser-Holmes won the 200-meter freestyle in 1:42.54.
Hungary’s Daniel Gyurta won the 100-meter breaststroke in 57.11. Italian Fabio Scozzoli took silver in 57.40 and Marco Koch of Germany won the bronze in 57.42.
Series points leader Chad le Clos of South Africa won the 100-meter butterfly in 48.59 for his third win of the meet and just missing a world record. American Tom Shields took the silver in 49.00. Le Clos also won the 200-meter individual medley in 1:51.56.
American Eugene Godsoe won the 50-meter backstroke in 23.00
Spain’s Mireia Belmonte won the 400-meter freestyle in 4:02.05.
American Josh Schneider continued his domination in the 50-meter freestyle in 21.11. Bolles alum George Bovell of Trinidad & Tobago took the silver in 21.31.
American Breeja Larson, competing her first season as a pro, won the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:20.02.
Germany’s Christian Diener won the 200-meter backstroke in 1:49.14. Shields took the silver in 1:51.92.
South Africa won the mixed 4×50-meter freestyle relay in 1:34.22. Schoeman led off with a 21.45 split that would have won a medal in the individual event.
The second leg of the series is Sept. 29-30 in Hong Kong and Oct. 4-5 in Moscow. The third and final cluster is Oct. 24-25 in Beijing, Oct. 28-29 in Tokyo and Nov. 1-2 in Singapore.
Sharon Robb can be reached at email@example.com