By Sharon Robb
September 29, 2014—-South Florida Aquatic Club’s Alia Atkinson opened the FINA/MASTBANK Swimming World Cup Monday night in Hong Kong with gold and bronze medals.
The three-time Jamaican Olympian won a gold medal in the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:03.23 and bronze in the 50-meter freestyle in a best time 24.65 against less than stellar fields.
Atkinson, 25, also swam a career-best time in the 50-meter backstroke, fourth by an off stroke in 27.37. She withdrew from the 200-meter individual medley.
Atkinson is third in the World Cup point standings entering the second cluster of the FINA series. She has won three consecutive 100 breaststroke titles and is undefeated in the event in 2014 World Cup meets.
It was Hungarian Katinka Hosszu and American Tom Shields who stole the show and were the big winners on opening night.
Hosszu, 25, swam in six finals and won five of them. The Iron Lady won the 800-meter freestyle, 200-meter freestyle, 50-meter backstroke, 200-meter individual medley and 200-meter backstroke.
Only the Netherlands’ Inge Dekker prevented her from going six-for-six winning the 50-meter freestyle, just ahead of Hosszu who took silver.
Hosszu entered all 17 events over two days. She swam seven of eight in Monday’s prelims but scratched the 100-meter butterfly.
Hosszu has all but clinched the circuit and the series hasn’t even reached the halfway mark. Hosszu leads with 424, after picking up 69 the first day. Atkinson is third with 105 points after earning 18 points.
Shields, who had two wins and two seconds and picked up 42 points on opening night and is ranked third with 127.5 points behind Chad le Clos of South Africa and Daniel Gyurta of Hungary.
Other winners were:
Women’s 800-meter freestyle: Hosszu opened with her 16th win of the World Cup circuit, finishing in 8:09.36.
Men’s 400-meter individual medley: Aussie Thomas Fraser-Holmes won his eighth World Cup title in 4:03.02.
Men’s 100-meter freestyle: Series leader Chad le Clos of South Africa won in 46.35. Shields was second in 47.80.
Women’s 200-meter freestyle: Hosszu won in 1:51.44, just .03 off her own World Cup record, missing out on another $10,000 bonus.
Men’s 50-meter breaststroke: German Marco Koch won in 26.69.
Women’s 100-meter butterfly: Inge Dekker of the Netherlands won in 56.03.
Men’s 100-meter backstroke: Aussie Ashley Delaney won the closest race of the night in 51.48 ahead of German Christian Diener in 51.77.
Women’s 50-meter backstroke: Hosszu won her third event of the night in 26.24.
Men’s 200-meter butterfly: Shields picked up his first win in 1:50.56, just a half second off his American record.
Women’s 200-meter individual medley: Hosszu won her fourth race by seven seconds in 2:03.60.
Men’s 400-meter freestyle: Fraser-Holmes won his second race of the night in 3:41.01, a four-second margin of victory.
Men’s 200-meter breaststroke: German Marco Koch won in 2:02.50, just .01 second ahead of Daniel Gyurta.
Men’s 100-meter individual medley: Shields picked up his second win in 52.51.
Women’s 200-meter backstroke: Hosszu won her fifth race in 2:03.01.
Men’s 50-meter butterfly: Le Clos won his second event in 22.35.
Mixed 4×50-meter medley relay: Host Hong Kong won in 1:43.28.
Sharon Robb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org