By Sharon Robb
April 6, 2018—Gold medal favorite Alia Atkinson of Jamaica had to settle for silver Friday in her first final at the XXI Commonwealth Games at newly-renovated Optus Aquatic Centre in Gold Coast Australia.
The South Florida Aquatic Club swimmer, the fastest qualifier in the 50-meter breaststroke, was second in 30.76 behind gold medalist Sarah Vasey of England in 30.60. Aussie Leiston Pickett took bronze in 30.78.
The four-time Olympian was slower than she was in the semifinal in 30.53, second in the world rankings, which would have won the gold medal. She duplicated her silver medal effort at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Atkinson will also compete in the 50-meter butterfly and 100-meter breaststroke.
In other finals:
South Africa’s Chad Le Clos won the 50-meter butterfly in a tight race in 23.37. Plantation American Heritage alum Dylan Carter of Trinidad & Tobago took silver in 23.67 and Ryan Coetzee of South Africa bronze in 23.73.
Aussie teammates Kyle Chalmers and Mack Horton finished 1-2 in the 200-meter freestyle in 1:45.56 and 1:45.89 respectively. Duncan Scott of Scotland was third in 1:46.30.
Aussie Clyde Lewis won gold in the 400-meter individual medley in 4:13.12. Scotland’s Mark Szaranek was second in 4:13.72 and Lewis Clareburt won New Zealand’s first medal placing third in 4:14.42.
Aussie Mitch Larkin won the 100-meter backstroke in 53.18. Bradley Woodward was second in 53.95 and Markus Thormeyer third in 54.14.
Aussie swept the women’s 100-meter butterfly with Emma McKeon, 56.78, Madeline Groves, 57.19 and Brianna Throssell, 57.30.
Through April 15, more than 70 nations will compete. The Commonwealth Games have been held since 1930, open only to athletes from the Commonwealth of Nations, including countries such as Australia, Canada, India and United Kingdom.
While there are only 52 countries in the Commonwealth of Nations, 70 countries compete in the Commonwealth Games.
Sharon Robb can be reached at email@example.com