Atkinson lands historic silver at worlds

Atkinson lands historic silver at worlds

P Burrowes

Friday, December 14, 2012

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ALIA Atkinson notched silver in the Women’s 50m breaststroke yesterday in Istanbul, Turkey, to give Jamaica its first-ever medal at the FINA World Swimming Short Course Championships.

Atkinson clocked 29.67 seconds to effectively secure her place as one of the five fastest women of all time in the sprint breaststroke.

Fifteen-year-old Lithuanian Ruta Meilutyte clinched gold when, for the third consecutive time, she set another championship record, clocking 29.44 seconds, the second fastest time in history. Australian Sarah Katsoulis claimed bronze with 29.94.

The Lithuanian’s time is all the more impressive as American Jessica Hardy posted her world record 28.80 on November 15, 2009 in a techsuit, which was banned domestically in the United States. In fact, Hardy’s world record is not recognised as an American record.

Twenty-four-year-old Atkinson, turning her attention to the semi-finals of the 100m individual medley, set another national record when she won in 58.94 seconds, the second fastest time in the world this year after Katinka Hosszu of Hungary, who swam 58.83 at the European Short Course Championships last month.

A Pan American Games silver medallist and multiple gold medallist at the Central American and Caribbean Games, Atkinson lowered her previous national mark of 59.96 set last month at the Canada Cup in Ontario.

China’s Jing Zhao was second in 59.12, with Lithuanian teen sensation Meilutyte third in 59.15. The final of the 100m medley takes place today.

Atkinson will also compete in the heats of the 100m breaststroke today. Her 16-year-old compatriot, Timothy Wynter, will also compete today in the 50m backstroke and 50m butterfly.

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