Alia continues good form, but London Roar team lags at ISL series


Alia continues good form, but London Roar team lags at ISL series

Observer staff reporter

Sunday, November 22, 2020

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Jamaica's champion swimmer Alia Atkinson and her London Roar team will have some catching up to do if they are to claim the second edition of the International Swimming League (ISL), as they closed day one of an enthralling final in third position in Budapest, Hungary.

Spurred on by well wishes from supporters at home and abroad Atkinson and teammates went into yesterday's opening day of action high on confidence, but the performances didn't quite come together as expected and they will now be hoping for a better showing on today's final day.

The Melanie Marshall-coached London Roar tallied 199.5 points from the first 20 of 39 events to be contested across the two days, leaving them 67.5 points behind favourites Cali Condors on 267 points, with defending champions Energy Standard in second on 239 points. LA Current is at the foot of the four-team table on 177 points.

One would feel the current positioning of the teams are almost justified, as London Roar entered the final as the third-rated team with 2007 rating points, just behind Cali Condors 2222 and defending champions Energy Standard 2291.

However, given their grit and stubborn determination, Atkinson and Adam Peaty are expected to rally their troops, as they seek to make a decisive move towards the coveted title to better their second-placed finish last year.

Atkinson, for her part, secured one silver and a bronze in her two events on the day — the 50m breaststroke and the women's 4X100m medley relay — adding 9.5 points to her team's total.

By all indications, there is more to come in her pet event, the 100m breaststroke and possibly the 50m breaststroke skins when she takes the pool inside the Duna Arena today.

The 31-year-old Atkinson heads into the 100m breaststroke ranked at the top of the pile, following her sensational season's best and world leading 1:02.66 clocked in semi-final action last week.

That said, she entered yesterday's much-anticipated 50m breaststroke ranked at number four, but gave a usual determined effort, registering her fastest 50m time of the year at 28.88 seconds.

Executing the fastest reaction time of 0.63 off the blocks (0.63), Atkinson led the field off the turn but could not hold off the challenge of Cali Condors' Lilly King (28.77s) and Energy Standard's Benedetta Pilato (28.81s), who both swept by into the top-two positions.

Atkinson, a four-time Olympian and three-time Jamaican Female Athlete of the Year, upped her game for the 4X100m medley relay, where she joined forces with customary accomplices Kira Toussaint, Marie Wattel and Freya Anderson.

Swimming on the second leg, which is the breaststroke leg, Atkinson clocked 1:03.56 seconds, placing her team in a decent position from where they stayed the course for second in 3:45.14. The King-led Cali Condor finished tops in 3:44.52, while Energy Standard (3:45.92), were third.

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