Dutch Delight!

Atkinson continues to flirt with 100m breaststroke record at Swimming World Cup

Saturday, August 12, 2017

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The impressive form of Jamaica's sensational swimmer Alia Atkinson continued on the third leg of the 2017 FINA/airweave Swimming World Cup in Eindhoven, yesterday, as she treated fans in the Dutch city to another scintillating effort which saw her once again going within a whisker of the 100m breaststroke short-course record.

Atkinson, the world record holder at 1:02.36 minutes, has been figuring prominently around the global standard, and her gold medal win yesterday in a time of 1:02.67 minutes was another indication that the record could be lowered in short order.

After a disappointing outing at the Rio Olympics last year, Atkinson had earlier this year promised to tweak a few technical aspects of her discipline, including her start, and the results are now speaking volumes. At 28 years old she continues to delightfully age like fine wine.

Following her 100m and 200m breaststroke double, complemented by a bronze medal finish in the 100m individual medley (IM) in Berlin, Germany, Atkinson was by no means short on confidence and she signalled her intentions from the preliminary round.

Her execution in the heats was near-perfect, and history was on the cusp of repeating itself, as Eindhoven was the site of her first 100m breaststroke World Cup win back in 2013.

She clocked splits of 30.40secs and 34.35secs, on her way to 1:04.75 minutes, the same time as long-time rival Ruta Meilutyte of Lithuania, who had splits of 30.37secs and 34.38secs, which wrote the script for what was expected to be an explosive final.

And it was indeed explosive – for Atkinson, at least.

The Jamaican was in a no-nonsense mood, as she left the blocks in a jiffy, on her way to clocking a blistering world record pace 50m split of 29.32secs, which was more than half-a-second faster than the chasing Meilutyte at 29.90secs, as she left the field crippled.

And with her significantly improved endurance, Atkinson posted 33.35secs over the final 50m to come home in 1:02.67 minutes, the fourth fastest time she has recorded on the World Cup tour and her eighth time under the 1:03-minute barrier.

The Rainforest Seafoods, GraceKennedy Money Services (GKMS) and National Bakery-sponsored Atkinson won ahead of Meilutyte (1:03.79) and American Breeja Larson (1:04.81).

She had earlier placed 17th in the preliminary rounds of the 200m IM in a time of 2:14.94 minutes.

Atkinson will be in action in the 50m breaststroke and butterfly events on today's second and final day.




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