Atkinson shatters 200m breaststroke national record in Arizona
The reigning queen of Jamaican swimming, Alia Atkinson, was at her irrepressible best on Thursday at the start of the USA Grand Prix in Mesa, Arizona.
Atkinson demolished a high quality field to win the women's 200-metre breaststroke A final in 2:25.52 minutes. That time destroys her old mark of 2:28.77 set August 1, 2012 in the heats of the London Olympic Games. That time skyrockets her to 13th in the world and sixth in the Commonwealth region.
Left in her wake were Americans Micah Lawrence, 2013 World Championships 200-metre bronze medallist (2:26.60) and sixth place finisher at the 2013 World Championships Breeja Larson.
Atkinson led from the gun to wall. At the 100-metre mark she already had an advantage of more than a half a second, an advantage which she extended in the second half.
Less than an hour later she was back in the water and yet again in record-breaking form. This time she topped the field in the B final of the women's 100-metre butterfly. She took the win in 1:00.87 minutes. That time beat her time of 1:01.16 set this March at the Speedo champion meet in Plantation Florida. Her quick turnaround time speaks to her great conditioning.
Atkinson would have been buoyed by her recent three-year signing with the world famous Speedo brand according to the Speedo website.
Sean Hastings, Vice President of Product and Marketing at Speedo International said:
"Since her success in 2012, Alia has gone from strength to strength and we're very pleased to be able to work with and support such exciting new talent. Alia is also incredibly passionate about swimming and swim safety awareness, which is at the heart of Speedo's values."
Alia had the following thoughts on the historic partnership:
"I have been swimming since the age of four, so I'm incredibly excited to become part of Team Speedo who has been with me from the start of my swimming journey. Speedo also does fantastic work in raising awareness of swimming and swim safety around the world, which is something I strongly support. I'm very proud to be working with Speedo in my journey towards the 2016 Games in Rio."
— Anthony Morrison-Vincent, Ramon James