By Sharon Robb
December 5, 2014—Alia Atkinson will go after her second medal Saturday at the 12th FINA Short Course World Swimming Championships at Hamad Aquatic Center in Doha, Qatar.
The three-time Jamaican Olympian and of South Florida Aquatic Club swimmer set herself up nicely for a second medal in the 100-meter breaststroke semifinals. She is seeded second in 1:03.59 behind rival Ruta Meilutyte of Lithuania who qualified in a meet record 1:02.43.
Atkinson, 25, just missed a medal in the 100-meter individual medley placing fourth in 58.58. Atkinson already has a silver medal and new national record in the 50-meter breaststroke.
“We’re very pleased with the strategy of the 100 breaststroke and the outcome of the 100 IM,” said SOFLO coach Chris Anderson. “She set herself up for success in the 100 breaststroke.”
Five more world records were broken on Day 3, the halfway point of the meet.
Hungarian Katinka Hosszu stole a little of Mireia Belmonte’s thunder by breaking two world records.
Hosszu, who scratched from the morning 400-meter freestyle heats to stay fresh, broke her first world record in the 200-meter backstroke in 1:59.23, nearly a second faster than the previous world record of 2:00.03 set in 2011 by American Missy Franklin. Hosszu is the first woman to swim under the two-minute mark.
Less than a hour later, Hosszu broke her second world record in the 100-meter individual medley in 56.70. She broke her own world record by 0.16 seconds.
In three days, Hosszu has three gold medals, two silver medals and three world records.
France’s Florent Manaudou broke the world, meet, European and French records in the 50-meter freestyle in a scorching 20.26. The previous record was 20.30 set by Roland Schoeman in 2009. The meet record was 20.51 held by Cesar Cielo since 2010.
Manaudou is only the second male swimmer from France to win a short course individual title.
“My goal was to win but I didn’t expect to break the record tonight,” Manaudou said.
Italy’s Marco Orsi was second in 20.69 and Cielo was third by 1/100th of a second in 20.88. American Josh Schneider was fifth in 20.97.
Two more world records were broken in relays.
Denmark’s Mie Nielsen, Rikke Pedersen, Jeanette Ottesen and Pernille Blume broke the women’s 4×50-meter medley relay in 1:44.04, bettering its own record of 1:45.92 set last year. The U.S. team of Felicia Lee, Emma Reaney, Claire Donahue and Natalie Coughlin was second in 1:44.92. Bolles’ Valentina Artemeva swam second leg on Russia’s seventh place relay that finished in 1:46.50.
The Netherlands broke the world record in the 400-meter freestyle relay. After breaking the 800-yard freestyle relay on opening day, the foursome of Inge Dekker, Femke Heemskerk, Maud van der Meer and Ranomi Kromowidjojo, broke its own world and meet records in 3:26.53. The previous world record was 3:28.22.
Dekker and Kromowidjojo were members of both world record teams.
The U.S. team of Natalie Coughlin, Abbey Weitzel, Madison Kennedy and Shannon Vreeland was second in 3:27.70. Italy was third in 3:29.48.
Ryan Lochte saw his eight-year reign in the 200-meter individual medley end when Japan’s Kosuke Hagino pulled ahead on the final leg to win in 1:50.47, Japanese and Asian records. Lochte was second in 1:51.31. Japan’s Daiya Seto was third in 1:51.79.
Lochte was looking to become only the second swimmer to win the event five times. He won in 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2012.
In other championship finals:
Spain’s Mareia Belmonte won her fourth gold medal in the 400-meter freestyle in a meet record 3:55.76, breaking the 2010 record of 3:57.07 set by Katie Hoff of Hurricane Aquatics.
Femke Heemskerk of the Netherlands won the 100-meter freestyle in a meet record 51.37. Ex-Bolles swimmer Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace of the Bahamas was sixth in 52.34.
Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrum won gold in the 50-meter butterfly in a meet record 24.58, breaking the 2010 record of 24.87 set by countrywoman Therese Alshammar.
Hungarian Daniel Gyurta defended his title in the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:01.49, just missing his own meet record. He is the first male swimmer to win two world titles in the event. Marco Koch of Germany was second in 2:01.91. Russia’s Kirill Prigoda was third in 2:02.38.
Also in the men’s 200-meter breaststroke, Florida State’s Rafael Van Leeuwaarde of Suriname broke his second national record in a best time 2:16.83 in morning prelims.
Another Hungarian, Peter Bernek won the 400-meter freestyle in a meet record 3:34.32. It was the oldest meet record previously set by Grant Hackett in 1999 in 3:35.01.
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.
FLORIDA SWIMMERS AT WORLD SHORT COURSE
Max Abreu, Paraguay, Bolles
Marcelo Acosta, El Salvador, Azura Florida Aquatics
Alia Atkinson, Jamaica, South Florida Aquatic Club
Jevon Atkinson, Jamaica, South Florida Aquatic Club
Valentina Artemevia, Russia, Bolles
Elizabeth Beisel, United States, Gator Swim Club
Elvis Burrows, Bahamas, Orlando
Lani Cabrera, Barbados, Florida Gulf Coast
Marcin Cieslak, Poland, Gator Swim Club
Carolina Colorado, Colombia, Bolles
Mitch D’Arrigo, Italy, Gator Swim Club
Brett Fraser, Cayman Islands, Florida/Bolles
Patrick Groters, Aruba, Pine Crest Swim Team
Talisa Lanoe, Kenya, Performance Aquatics (PAQ)
Ryan Lochte, Daytona Beach, United States
Hilda Luthersdottir, Iceland, Gator Swim Club
Melanie Margalis, United States, St. Petersburg Aquatics
Noah Mascoll-Gomes, Antigua & Barbuda, Azura
Jorge Murillo, Colombia, Bolles
Vien Nguyen, Vietnam, St. Augustine Swim Team Cyclones
Chinyere Pigot, Suriname, Metro Aquatics
Zuhayr Pigot, Suriname, Metro Aquatics
Jared Pike, South Africa, Club Seminole
Omar Pinzon, Colombia, Bolles
Sebastien Rousseau, South Africa, Gator Swim Club
Pavel Sankovich, Belarus, Club Seminole
Mario Todorivic, Croatia, Bolles
Rafael Van Leeuwaarde, Suriname, Florida State
Ariel Weech, Bahamas, Orlando
Sharon Robb can be reached at email@example.com