By Sharon Robb
October 24, 2014—Alia Atkinson is now trying to play catch-up at the FINA/MASTBANK Swimming World Cup Friday in Beijing, China.
The three-time Jamaican Olympian of the South Florida Aquatic Club got off to a good start on Friday.
Atkinson, 25, won the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:04.11 and picked up 12 points against a week women’s field. She attacked the first 50 in sub-30 in 29.98 and won the race by more than a second picking up $1500 for the win.
Atkinson is fourth overall in money earnings with $44,500. After not competing in Russia, Atkinson is 21 points behind (171 points) Spain’s Mireia Belmonte of Spain (189 points) and $72,000 in the overall series standings.
Bolles alum George Bovell of Trinidad and Tobago took second in the 50-meter breaststroke in 26.91 behind Roland Schoeman in 26.87.
Bovell won his second silver medal of the night in the 100-meter individual medley in 52.43 and earned $1,000 per medal.
Local fans had something to cheer about after watching China’s Lu Ying and Xu Jiayu break national records in back-to-back races.
Lu Ying lowered her national record in the 100-meter butterfly in 55.95 after knocking off favorite Inge Dekker of the Netherlands. Lu is the first Chinese woman to go under 56 seconds.
Xu Jiayu broke the men’s national record in the 100-meter backstroke in 50.14, shaving 8/10ths off the previous mark set by Sun Xiaolei in 2011.
Most of the Chinese swimming in the meet competed in the Asian Games in late September and national championships in mid-October.
In other final events:
Women’s 800-meter freestyle: Hungarian Katinka Hosszu took up where she left off in the second cluster. She won the distant event in a national record and career-best 8:08.41. “Compared with training, I like competition better because it is easier and more relaxed than training,” she said.
Men’s 400-meter individual medley: Daiya Seto of Japan won by nearly five seconds in 4:04.84.
Men’s 100-meter freestyle: South African Chad le Clos had no problem winning in 46.81. He led from start to finish.
Women’s 200-meter freestyle: Hosszu picked up her second win of the day. Florida alum Elizabeth Beisel, making her World Cup finals debut, was seventh in 1:57.28. It was only her second short course meters event.
Women’s 50-meter backstroke: China went one-two with Fu Yuanhui winning in 26.43 and Qiu Yuhan in 26.64.
Men’s 200-meter butterfly: Le Close picked up his second victory in 1:49.73 including 28.9 in the last 50 meters.
Women’s 200-meter individual medley: Hosszu picked up her third gold medal of the night in 2:02.13. American Caitlin Leverenz took silver in 2:07.88.
Men’s 400-meter freestyle: China’s 2012 Olympic champion Sun Yang won in 3:37.10, the fastest time in the world this year. “It is my first Beijing World Cup meet, I am excited,” Sun said. “I am not in my best shape.”
Women’s 50-meter freestyle: Inge Dekker of the Netherlands won in 23.97.
Men’s 200-meter breaststroke: Hungarian Daniel Gyurta won easily in 2:03.40. He led from start to finish after 50 meters.
Men’s 100-meter individual medley: Russian Sergei Fesikov won with a season-best 52.30.
Women’s 200-meter backstroke: Hosszu won her fourth gold medal in 2:02.71, just edging Aussie Madison Wilson who finished in 2:02.81.
Men’s 50-meter butterfly: Le Clos won his third gold medal in 22.03, second fastest time in the world this year.
4×50-meter mixed medley relay: China won in 1:40.10 followed by Russia and Japan.
This is the fifth leg of the tour that started in Doha and Dubai in August. The final stops are Beijing, Tokyo, Japan (Oct. 28-29) and Singapore (Nov. 1-2).
The Beijing meet has attracted 300 swimmers from 32 countries. Swimmers are racing for $1,500 for first, $1,000 for second and $500 for third. There is also a $10,000 bonus offered for a world record performance swim.
The stakes are high with $300,000 in prize money offered to the sixth highest ranked men and women swimmers. After the Singapore leg, the men’s and women’s World Cup winners will earn $100,000, second place $50,000 and third place $30,000.
Sharon Robb can be reached at email@example.com