By Sharon Robb
July 17, 2015—Alia Atkinson won her first silver medal and broke her own national record at the XVII Pan American Games on Friday in Toronto.
The three-time Jamaican Olympian was edged by American Katie Meili for the gold medal, 1:06.26-1:06.59 in the 100-meter breaststroke, her signature event.
It was Jamaica’s first medal at the Games and Atkinson’s, 26, second career medal at the Pan Am Games.
Atkinson bettered her national record and previous career-best of 1:06.79 and now has the fifth fastest in the world.
Atkinson qualified in 1:07.46 during prelims.
The short course gold medalist and world record holder led for most of the race but Meili was able to pull ahead. Meili broke the Pan American record in the prelims in 1:05.64, second fastest time in the world this year.
Jamaican teammate Timothy Wynter was fifth in the “B” final of the 100-meter backstroke in 57.47, finishing 13th overall.
Colombian Jorge Murillo-Valdes just missed the medal stand with a fourth place in the 100-meter breaststroke. Seeded second after prelims, he finished fourth in 1:00.61.
Colombian and SOFLO teammate Carolina Colorado was tenth in the 100-meter backstroke in 1:02.16 after going 1:02.10.
After a disappointing morning swim in the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:16.14, Bermuda national champion Lisa Blackburn came back to finish 13th
overall in 1:14.15.
Another longtime Florida Gold Coast swimmer, American Clara Smiddy of AquaKids Sharks, won her second bronze of the Games in the 100-meter backstroke in 1:00.49. She also finished third in the 200-meter backstroke.
In other Friday races:
Bahamian Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace, competing in her final event, won the 50-meter freestyle, her signature event, in 24.38. Vanderpool-Wallace, 25, was coming off her record-breaking morning performance. She was the fastest qualifier in meet and national records and career-best 24.31, fourth fastest time in the world this year.
Canadian Olympian Ryan Cochrane, 26, neither shaved nor tapered looking ahead to worlds, broke the meet record to win the 400-meter freestyle in 3:48.29. Colombian Mateo de Angulo, Florida State alum, broke his country’s national record in 3:51.38 to finish sixth.
American Nick Thoman won the gold medal in the 100-meter backstroke in a meet record 53.20, fifth fastest time in the world this year.
Brazilian Etiene Medeiros broke the meet, national and South American records to win the gold medal in the 100-meter backstroke in 59.61, sixth fastest time in the world this year, after going 1:00.74 in prelims. Her finals splits were 29.10 and 30.51.
Brazil swept the top two places in the 100-meter breaststroke. Felipe Franca Da Silva won in 59.21, breaking his own meet record, and Felipe Lima was second in 1:00.01. Canadian Richard Funk was third in 1:00.29.
The final day of events on Saturday are women’s 800-meter freestyle, 200-meter individual medley, men’s 1500-meter freestyle and 4×100-meter medley relay.
100-meter backstroke: 1. Etiene Medeiros, Brazil 59.61, record; 2. Olivia Smoliga, United States 1:00.06, 3. Clara Smiddy, United States 1:00.79 prelims, 1:00.49 finals; SOFLO: 10. Carolina Colorado, Colombia 1:02.10.
400-meter freestyle: 1. Emily Overholt, Canada 4:08.42, record; 2. Andreina Pinto, Venezuela 4:08.67, 3. Gillian Ryan, United States 4:09.46.
100-meter breaststroke: 1. Kate Meili, United States 1:06.26, 2. Alia Atkinson, Jamaica 1:06.59, 3. Rachel Nicol, Canada 1:07.91; SOFLO: 13. Lisa Blackburn, Bermuda 1:16.14, 1:14.15.
50-meter freestyle: 1. Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace, Bahamas 24.31, 24.38; 2. Etiene Medeiros, Brazil 24.55, 3. Natalie Coughlin, United States 24.66.
100-meter backstroke: 1. Nick Thoman, United State 53.20, record; 2. Guilherme Guido, Brazil 53.35, 3. Eugene Godsoe, United States 53.96; FLORIDA: 13. Timothy Wynter, Jamaica 57.47.
400-meter freestyle: 1. Ryan Cochrane, Canada 3:48.29, record; 2. Ryan Feeley, United States 3:49.69, 3. Leonardo De Deus, Brazil 3:50.30.
100-meter breaststroke: 1. Franca Da Silva, Brazil 59.21, record; 2. Felipe Lima, Brazil 1:00.01, 3. Richard Funk, Canada 1:00.29; SOFLO: 4. Jorge Murillo-Valdes, Colombia 1:00.53, 1:00.61.
50-meter freestyle: 1. Josh Schneider, United States 21.86, 2. Bruno Fratus, Brazil 21.91, 3. George Bovell, Trinidad & Tobago 22.17.
SOFLO CONNECTION AT PAN AMS
BERMUDA: Lisa Blackburn
COLOMBIA: Carolina Colorado, Jorge Murillo-Valdes
JAMAICA: Alia Atkinson, Timothy Wynter, Chris Anderson (Coach)
Sharon Robb can be reached at email@example.com