Roaring Alia

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Roaring Alia

Atkinson on the double for London Roar at ISL

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

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Jamaica's champion swimmer Alia Atkinson produced yet another stellar display to secure an 11th consecutive 50-metre breaststroke victory on day one of the second International Swimming League (ISL) in Budapest, Hungary on Sunday.

Atkinson, now representing the Melanie Marshall-coached London Roar not only executed a fine race to earn 10 valuable points for her new team, but also ensured that her unbeaten run at the ISL remained intact.

Swimming from lane four, the four-time Olympian set the pool inside the Duna Arena alight with her usual quick start off the blocks and excellent underwater technique, which propelled her to the lead for the first 25 metres.

Coming off the wall, Atkinson upped the tempo and was never to be caught by her competitors despite their desperate attempts. The world record holder, clocked an easy 29.20 seconds for victory ahead of Team Iron's Ida Hulkko (29.45s) and Martina Carraro (29.51s) of Aqua Centurions.

Atkinson's time on Sunday was faster than all three of her winning times from three starts last season, and that came as no surprise, as Budapest has seemingly become her happy hunting ground. Her previous wins at this ISL meet came in 29.31 in the United States, 29.27 in Budapest and 29.32 in London.

The Hungarian capital is where Atkinson, 31, clocked her world record of 28.56 in 2018. Her impressive run in the 25 metre pool now stands at 11 victories and stretches back to 2016.

Atkinson secured win number two on the day in the 4x100 medley relay, as her London Roar team, which included Dutch national record holder Kira Toussaint, Frenchwoman Marie Wattel and Russia's 50m freestyle record holder Maria Kameneva, clocked 3:50.27 in a tidy performance.

Toussaint led with a 56.56s clcoking on the backstroke leg that gave London Roar a slight edge over the DC Trident team's lead swimmer Amy Bilquist (56.91).

The Jamaican darling of the pool then opened up that advantage by more than two-and-a-half seconds with her breaststroke splits of 1:03.83, paving the way for Wattel and Kameneva to get the job done by almost three seconds.

For Atkinson it was also her best split in the medley relay and the fastest relay team she has been a part of in the ISL. Last year she had splits of 1:04.52 and her best relay team clocked 3:51.85.

Atkinson will remain in Budapest for six weeks of ISL competition, which features 10 teams from North America, Europe and Asia, all loaded with the world's elite swimmers.

Energy Standard are the defending ISL champions, with Cali Condors, NY Breakers, LA Current, Aqua Centurions, DC Trident, Tokyo Frog Kings, Toronto Titans, Iron, and London Roar, being the other teams vying for the coveted title this year.


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