SOFLO’s Alia Atkinson Takes Silver, Breaks National Record At World Short Course Championships

By Sharon Robb

December 4, 2014—Alia Atkinson of South Florida Aquatic Club broke her own national record and won a silver medal at the 12th FINA World Short Course Swimming Championships Thursday at Hamad Aquatic Center in Doha, Qatar.

The three-time Jamaican Olympian just missed the gold medal in the 50-meter breaststroke, one of her signature events.

Olympian champion and world record holder Ruta Meilutyte, who had lost two Atkinson twice on the FINA World Cup Series, won in 28.84 and defended her title, but missed the world record she was after.

Atkinson was second in a national record 28.91 which she set last year. Atkinson has the 100-meter breaststroke on Friday.

Three world records were broken on the second day of competition.

South African Chad Le Clos broke the 100-meter butterfly world and meet records in 48.44. His splits were 22.59 and 25.85. The previous record was 48.48 set by Russian Evgeny Korotyshkin in 2009 during the super tech suit era. American Tom Shields was second in 48.99 and Aussie Tommaso D’Orsogna was third in 49.60. Ryan Lochte was seventh in 50.23.

It was Le Clos’ second gold medal in two days. He also won the 200-meter freestyle on opening day.

Hungarian Katinka Hosszu broke her sixth world short course meters record in 2014 and first at worlds in the 100-meter backstroke in 55.03. Her splits were 26.93 and 28.10. She broke the previous record of 55.23 set by Shiho Sakai in 2009.

“I came close to breaking this record three times and I am excited to have finally succeeded,” Hosszu said. “I was not there to prove anything. Mireia raced better than me on Wednesday and that is why she won.”

Brazil won three gold medals.

Felipe Franca Silva won the 100-meter breaststroke and was also a member of his country’s gold medal relays.

Brazil won the men’s and mixed 4×50-meter medley relays.

Brazil won the 4×50-meter medley relay in a world record 1:30.51 with Guilherme Guido, Felipe Franca Silva, Nicholas Santos and Cesar Cielo in the event’s debut. France was second in 1:31.25 and the U.S. relay of Eugene Godsoe, Cody Miller, Tom Shields and Josh Schneider was third in 1:31.83.

Brazil also won the 4×50-meter mixed medley relay in 1:37.26 with Etiene Medeiros, Felipe Franca Silva, Nicholas Santos and Larissa Oliveira. Great Britain was second in 1:37.46 and Italy was third in 1:37.90.

Lochte won his first gold medal of the meet. Lochte and U.S. teammates Conor Dwyer, Matt McLean and Tyler Clary won the 800-meter freestyle relay in 6:51.68. Clary’s 1:42.86 anchor leg clinched the win. Italy was second in 6:51.80 and Russia was third in 6:51.96.

It was Lochte’s 21st short course world gold medal. It was also the sixth straight world short course meet where he has won at least one gold medal.

Brazilian Joao de Lucca, a former three-time NCAA champion at Louisville, swam a national record 1:41.85 on the leadoff leg of the 800 free relay. It was the best leadoff of the final. The relay time of 6:54.53 was also a national record with teammates Gustavo Godoy, Fernando Santos and Gabriel Ogawa.

Three world records were broken on Day One. Spain’s Maria Garcia Belmonte broke two world records in the 200-meter butterfly and 400-meter individual medley and the Netherlands women’s 4×200-meter relay record,

In other championship finals:

Belmonte won her third gold medal in the 800-meter freestyle in a meet record 8:03.41. Welsh swimmer Jazz Carlin of Great Britain took the silver medal and broke the national record in the 800-meter freestyle in 8:08.16 just ahead of Sharon Van Rouwendaal of the Netherlands in 8:08.17.

Japan’s Daiya Seto won the 400-meter individual medley in 3:56.33, both Japanese and Asian records. Countryman Kosuke Hagino was second in 4:01.17.

Mitchell James Larkin of Australia won the 100-meter backstroke in 49.57. Poland’s Radoslaw Kawecki was second in 50.11 and Ryosuke Irie of Japan was third in 50.12. American Matt Grevers was fourth in 50.12.

The state of Florida has 29 nine swimmers, who train in Florida, representing 20 countries. The biennial event features 1,100 swimmers from 171 countries.

Universal Sports Network is televising the meet over ten hours with nightly broadcasts at 8 p.m. The two-hour daily highlight shows feature the best of each day’s races.

Sharon Robb can be reached at