By Sharon Robb
TOKYO, Japan, August 4, 2019—After a slow start in the series opener, Alia Atkinson of South Florida Aquatic Club bounced back to win a gold medal Sunday at the FINA Swimming World Cup.
The four-time Jamaican Olympian and short course world record holder won the 50-meter breaststroke in 30.35. She won $1,500 for her first place.
Satomi Suzuki of Japan was second in 31.09 and Alina Zmushka of Belarus was third in 31.12.
Atkinson still holds the championship record in 30.26, set in November 2015. Atkinson was coming off the FINA World Championships where she finished out of the medal hunt. Her best place was fourth.
Atkinson was also ninth in the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:08.87 and 19th in the 50-meter butterfly in 27.57 in the FINA World Cup opener.
“I feel pretty good. I wanted to see if I was faster or slower than at the World Championships, and I am about the same time. So, it was okay. I think my best time is 1:05.9, so I would love to be get back to this result. For that reason, it’s a small stepping stone in that direction,” Atkinson said.
Tokyo is the first stop of the first cluster and site of the 2020 Summer Olympic Games, giving Atkinson a sneak preview of the city and Olympic fever. The remaining two stops are Jinan, China Aug. 8-10 and Singapore Aug. 15-17.
Swimmers are competing for prize money. Atkinson is the only swimmer from Jamaica competing.
Sharon Robb can be reached at email@example.com