August 25, 2016—Alia Atkinson of South Florida Aquatic Club will compete in her first meet since the 2016 Rio Olympics on Friday.

The four-time Jamaican Olympian will compete for part of the $300,000 overall prize purse being offered starting with the FINA World Cup Series opener in Paris-Chartres, France.

It is the first leg of the nine-meet circuit hosted by the French Swimming Federation in a 25-meter pool. Only 115 swimmers (71 men, 44 women) are competing.

Atkinson will be among some of the world’s fastest breaststrokers including Japan’s Rie Kaneto, Olympic gold medalist in the 200-meter breaststroke; Lithuania’s Ruta Meilutyte, U.S. Olympic bronze medalist Katie Meili and Russia’s Yulia Efimova.

Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu, last year’s World Cup overall champion, will go after her fifth consecutive title. She is coming off an outstanding Olympics where she won her first medals, three gold and one silver. The “Iron Lady” is entered in every event over two days in the FINA World Cup opener.

The men’s field is just as loaded with South Africa’s Cameron van der Burgh and Chad le Clos, France’s Florent Manaudou and Yannick Agnel Aussie Mitch Larkin, Russian Stansilav Donets and American Michael Andrew.

Prelims are 3:30 a.m. EST and finals 11 a.m. EST.

The first cluster of the FINA World Cup also features Berlin, Aug. 30-31 and Moscow Sept. 3-4.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

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