By Sharon Robb
August 8, 2015—Alia Atkinson of South Florida Aquatic Club will get an opportunity to win another medal when she competes Sunday in the championship final of the 50-meter breaststroke at the XVI FINA World Aquatic Championships at Kazan Arena.
The three-time Jamaican Olympian advanced through the heats and semifinals of the sprint event.
Atkinson is the first Jamaican swimmer to make the finals of the 50-meter breaststroke. At her first world championship in Barcelona in 2013, she did not get past the semifinals.
On Saturday, she was second fastest in 30.27 behind Lithuanian rival Ruta Meilutyte (29.74) in the heats. She was sixth fastest in the semifinal in 30.78. Meilutyte was again fastest qualifier in 29.98. Each race the Lithuanian was the only swimmer under 30 seconds.
In the 50-meter backstroke, Jamaica’s Timothy Wynter of South Florida Aquatic Club was 52nd in 27.21.
In other men’s and women’s events:
Olympian Ryan Lochte of Daytona Beach played a key role in a world-record, gold-medal winning performance by Team USA.
Lochte, 31, led off Team USA’s mixed 4×100-meter freestyle relay that broke the world record in 3:23.05 and won gold. Lochte’s split was 48.79.
Lochte was joined by Nathan Adrian on the second leg, Simone Manuel on third leg and Missy Franklin on anchor.
The Netherlands took the silver just 0.05 seconds behind and Canada, with Bolles alum Santo Condorelli leading off (48.19 split), took the bronze in 3:23.59.
Teenager Katie Ledecky made history in her final appearance of the week. The 18-year-old teenager fresh out of high school, broke her own world record in the 800-meter freestyle by 3.61 seconds in 8:07.39 to win her fifth gold medal of the world championships.
Ledecky swept the 200, 400, 800 and 1,500 freestyle events and swam anchor on the winning 4×200-meter freestyle relay.
“It’s really neat to say that you’ve done something nobody has done before,” Ledecky said. “I’ll enjoy this for a few days and then I’ll get back to work. Hopefully, there’s more to come.
“It could have been really tiring and it was,” Ledecky said. “But I recovered very well. I did what I needed to do to set myself up well each time that I got up on the blocks. I’m just proud of how I handled my races and how all this week has gone.”
Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrum won the gold medal in the 50-meter butterfly in a meet record 24.96. Jeanette Ottesen of Denmark took the silver in 25.34 and China’s Lu Ying took the bronze in 25.37.
Aussie Emily Seebohm topped an impressive field to win the 200-meter backstroke in 2:05.81 and sweep the backstroke events. American and defending champion Missy Franklin won the silver in 2:06.34 and Hungarian Katinka Hosszu took the bronze in 2:06.84.
In seven events so far, Franklin has five medals, but no individual gold medals just two years after she won a record six golds in Barcelona.
“I’m just not there at the end yet, and that’s all right,” Franklin said. “I fought my heart out. I went out after it.”
In a historic moment for Singapore, Bolles alum Joseph Schooling won his country’s first-ever medal at the world championships. He took the bronze medal in the 100-meter butterfly in 50.96, breaking his own national record for the third time in two days and Asian record.
It was the first time in his international career that Schooling had qualified for the semifinals in the 100-meter butterfly at either the World Championships or Olympic Games.
Frenchman Florent Manaudou knocked off American Nathan Adrian to win the 50-meter freestyle, 21.19-21.52. Brazilian Bruno Fratus took the bronze in 21.55.
The eight-day meet concludes on Sunday. The women’s events are: 50-meter breaststroke final, 50-meter freestyle final, 400-meter individual medley and 4×100-meter freestyle relay. The men’s events are: 50-meter backstroke final, 400-meter individual medley final, 1500-meter freestyle final and men’s 4×100-meter medley relay final.
Sharon Robb can be reached at email@example.com