Jamaica’s World Cup Star Alia Atkinson has found a formidable rival in American Molly Hannis on the final stages of the 2015 FINA/airweave Swimming World Cup tour. Hannis who is enjoying a breakout fall stopped the three Olympian’s win streak in the sprint breaststroke events in Tokyo as she copped the 100 metre breaststroke title in 1:07.71 and edged Alia 30.63 to 30.79 for the 50 metre crown.
On day 1 of the Doha stop it was advantage Hannis as she again took the 100 metre breaststroke in 1:06.94 to Atkinson’s 1:07.83. Atkinson, who had an uncharacteristically slow first 50, was fourth at the half way mark in 32.16. Such is the heart of the Jamaican she was able to over haul Denmark’s Rikke Moller Pedersen the world record holder in the 200 and Australian Leiston Pickett .She ,however was unable to catch the American.
On the final day in Doha Atkinson brought the heat in the final of the 50 metre breaststroke. Her reaction time to the gun was 0.61 .Hannis was .04 of a second behind. The start being essential to the 50 wrote the tale of what unfolded in the race. Atkinson built on her advantage to win convincingly in 30.55 .Hannis claimed Silver in 31.12 out touching Pickett by .01
With that win Atkinson has posted the fastest time of the World Cup Series bettering the 30.56 by American Breeja Larson in Moscow in August. It also doubles as the fastest time in the world for the 2015-2016 season.
Atkinson made her third final of the stop in the 50 metre butterfly .Atkinson clocked 27.06 to finish fourth overall.
The Jamaican also raced in the 200 breaststroke finishing eleventh in 2:33.22 and twentieth in the 200 metre individual medley in2:23.63.She was also seventeenth in the 50 metre freestyle in 26.88.
Also competing at the Doha leg was French swimmer Coralie Balmy who hails from La Trinité Martinique. Balmy won three Bronze medals over the two days of the meet She clocked 4:07.56 tin the 400 metre freestyle to finish behind New Zealand’s Lauren Boyle 4:06.58 and Great Britain’s Jazmin Carlin 4:07.42. That time puts her fifth in the world. Her other medal came in the 200 metre freestyle where she clocked 1:58.92 to be ninth globally. The Gold Medal went to Hungary’s “ Iron Lady” Katinka Hosszu 1:56.60 .The Silver went to World Record holder and 2008 Olympic Champion Italian Frederica Pellegrini 1:58.06.
She would finish seventh in the 800 metre freestyle in 8:43.24 to be ranked fifteenth in the world.
Balmy is a two time Olympian (2008, 2012) has a bronze medal from the 800 metre freestyle relay in 2012 for France.
At 2002 CARIFTA Championships Balmy had swept the 200, 400 and 800 metre freestyle races in the 13-14 age group. In the 200 she clocked 2:12.16 to turn back the challenges of the Cayman Islands Jennifer Powell 2:15.06 and Trinidad and Tobago’s Catherine Lee Ha 2:15.64. The 400 metre freestyle saw her winning in 4:38.16 .The Cayman Islands duo of Powell 4:48.05 and Andrea Balderamos 4:49.73 finished second and third. She broke Janelle Atkinson’s then 800 freestyle record of 9:26.71 to claim Gold in 9:23.62. Her French Antilles team mate Alizee Fenasse took runner up spot in 9:53.42 while Balderamos was third in 10:01.04.