The final cluster of meets of the FINA/airweave Swimming World Cup 2015 has proved to be the most competitive .This as it has seen the addition of Olympic Gold medallists and elite athletes from aquatic powerhouses such as the United States of America, France, Great Britain and Japan.
The final of the 100 metre breaststroke in Dubai had the promise of a tight battle for the Gold. In the final was rising American star Molly Hannis who had won the 100 metre breaststroke races in Tokyo and Doha, stopping Atkinson’s breaststroke sprint win streak. Also in the hunt were Denmark’s World Record Holder in the 200 metre breaststroke Rikke Moeller Pedersen and the ever dangerous Australian Leiston Pickett. A rising star from Europe who is tipped to be a medal threat in Rio 2016 was Viktoria Gunes. Gunes who previously represented Ukraine and presently swims for Turkey and had swept the breaststroke events at the World Junior Championships She also had won the 200 breaststroke in a faster time done at the Senior World Championships.
With the scenario set for a nail biting finish all that was needed was for the race to start. Apparently no one told Jamaica’s Alia Atkinson the script for the race. When the gun sounded Hannis had a reaction time of 0.64 of a second to Atkinson’s 0.67. That was the only advantage the field would have over the three time Jamaican Olympian. Atkinson made up for the slow first 50 metres in Doha by blasting through the first 50 in Dubai. She covered the distance in 30.55. That is the same time she won the 50 metre breaststroke final in Doha. It was also faster than her split of 30.91 that Atkinson did en route to her national record of 1:6.21.
That blazing opening leg had Atkinson ahead of a quality field by over a second .A special time was on the cards. When Atkinson touched the pads it was a new National record of 1:05.93. It is the fastest time of the 2015-2016 season which goes with her season leading time of 30.55 for the 50 metre breaststroke set three days ago. Second was Hannis in 1:06.60 and Bronze went to Gunes in 1:06.96.
Dubai has always proven to be successful venue for the Jamaican record holder. She has not lost the 100 metre breaststroke in this city since joining the World Cup tour. In 2013 and 2014 when the meet was contested in short course metres she had victories in times of 1:02.91and 1:03.26 respectively. With the level of competition raised Atkinson raised the bar for Jamaican and Caribbean swimmers by becoming the first woman under 1:06.00 for the 100 metre breaststroke and on the way to challenge for Gold at the Rio 2016 Olympics.