SOFLO’s Atkinson Wins Gold, Joins 1:05 Club, Breaks National Record On Day One At FINA/Airweave World Cup Series In Dubai

By Sharon Robb

November 6, 2015—Three-time Jamaican Olympian Alia Atkinson of South Florida Aquatic Club saved her best for last.

The 26-year-old Atkinson won the 100-meter breaststroke in a Jamaican national record and joined the 1:05 Club in 1:05.93 on opening night of the FINA/Airweave World Cup Series in Dubai, the final stop on the series.

It was the first time Atkinson cracked 1:06 in her pro career. Atkinson moves up to second in the world rankings. Her 50 split tied her season’s best and is a world-leading time.

Seeded first after prelims, Atkinson was the only breaststroker to crack 1:06 in the final. Her previous national mark was 1:06.21 she swam at the World Championship semifinals this past summer.

American Molly Hannis was second in 1:06.60. Turkey’s Viktoria Gunes, the second seed making her World Cup debut, was third in 1:06.96.

Atkinson, who missed gold medals in her last two 100 breaststroke races in Tokyo and Doha, attacked the race off the blocks. She went out in 30.55 and finished in 35.38. Her 1:05.93 was the 16th fastest performance of all time.

Another Florida Gold Coast swimmer, Marta Ciesla, 17, of Pine Crest Swimming, competing against a world-class field in only her second international meet, finished second in the 50-meter freestyle to take home a silver medal in 25.31. It is the fastest time in the world for an 18-and-under swimmer.

Ciesla was seeded fifth (25.07) in the 50-meter freestyle. 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. The junior defending state champion for Pine Crest, decided not to compete in Friday’s FHSAA State 1A Swimming and Diving Championships on Friday to represent her country.

In other championship finals:

Hungarian Katinka Hosszu broke the national record in the 200-meter freestyle in 1:55.41. She shaved 4/10ths of a second off her previous record. It is the fifth fastest time this year.

Frenchman Jeremy Stravius overtook early leader Chad le Clos of South Africa to win the 100-meter freestyle in 48.34, 1/100th of a second ahead of Le Clos. Both times were under this year’s top time of 48.55.

South African Cameron van der Burgh won the 50-meter breaststroke in 26.77 ahead of Brit Adam Peaty in 27.16.

American Felicia Lee won the 100-meter butterfly in 58.57.

Aussie Mitch Larkin lowered his own national and Commonwealth record in the 100-meter backstroke winning in 52.11, fastest time in the world this year, topping Bolles alum Ryan Murphy’s 52.18.

Emily Seebohm of Australia won the 50-meter backstroke in 27.49. Hosszu was second in 27.99, another of her national records (28.16).

Denmark’s Viktor Bromer won the 200-meter butterfly in 1:55.98, overtaking early leader Quah Zheng Wen of Singapore and Le Clos.

Hosszu continued to pile up the medals and cash winning the 200-meter individual medley in 2:08.61.

Great Britain’s James Guy won the 400-meter freestyle in 3:46.91.

Aussie Melanie Wright won the 50-meter freestyle in 24.72, third in the world this year.

Hungarian Daniel Gyurta won the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:10.43.

Seebohm overtook Hosszu in the final 50 meters to win the 200-meter backstroke in 2:06.94. Hosszu finished in 2:07.13.

Le Clos won his first gold of the day in the 50-meter butterfly in a season-best 23.31.

Lauren Boyle of New Zealand won the 800-meter freestyle in 8:25.96.

Hungarian David Verraszto won the 400-meter individual medley in 4:16.71.

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.

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