By Sharon Robb
November 5, 2015—The FINA/Airweave World Cup Series, featuring Florida swimmers Alia Atkinson and Marta Ciesla, comes to a close in Dubai on Friday and Saturday.
Atkinson, 26, three-time Jamaican Olympian Alia Atkinson who trains with South Florida Aquatic Club, is coming off the Doha meet where she won a gold medal in the 50-meter breaststroke.
Atkinson is seeded first in the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:06.21 and 50-meter breaststroke (30.11). Atkinson is also entered in the 200-meter individual medley (2:14.75), 200-meter breaststroke (2:25.48), 50-meter freestyle (25.90) and 50-meter butterfly (26.65).
Atkinson has won $36,750 in prize money during the series this year.
Ciesla, 17, of Pine Crest Swimming is seeded fifth (25.07) in the 50-meter freestyle in her second international meet. She also competed in Doha where she finished sixth in her international debut.
Ciesla is representing the U.S. as a member of USA Swimming’s 14-member 18-and-under squad that also includes University of Florida-bound Maxime Rooney, who took a bronze medal in the 200-meter freestyle in Doha.
Ciesla, a junior defending high school state champion, decided not to compete in the FHSAA State 1A Swimming and Diving Championships on Friday to represent her country.
Dubai is hosting the World Cup for the fifth time. The field features 440 international swimmers and 350 club swimmers from 56 nations according to host officials.
A star-studded field is led by Hungarian Katinka Hosszu and South African Cameron Van der Burgh, who lead the overall points series and will each earn an additional $100,000 bonus.
The field also features Aussies Mitch Larkin and Emily Seebohm; Brazilian Bruno Fratus; American Anthony Ervin, Adam Peaty of Great Britain and Rikke Pederson of Denmark.
Prelims are 3 a.m. EST and finals 11 a.m. EST.
The full eight-leg World Cup is being held in long course leading up to the 2016 Rio Olympics.
The top three finishers in each event earn $1,500, $1,000 and $500. There is also a $10,000 payout for world records and cluster bonuses awarded from $50,000 to $5,000 among the top six.
The World Cup events are being live-streamed for free on FINATV.
Sharon Robb can be reached at email@example.com