Jamaica’s Alia Atkinson (SoFlo Aquatics) was the best placed CARIFTA region swimmer on day 2 of the ARENA Pro Swim Series meet at Charlotte on Friday May 13. Atkinson who recently completed a training camp in Arizona is using the meet to work out race strategy heading into Rio. After making the final of her best event the, the 100 metre breaststroke with an easy swim of 1:08.10 she would face yet another quality field in the evening. The Championship field included rising star Lilly King and PAN American Gold medallist Katie Meili and Rio bound Canadians Rachel Nicol and Kierra Smith.
The final after the first 50 boiled down to the three Lilly, Atkinson and Meili. With the last 15 metres King pulled away for the victory in 1:05.73, Meili the Silver 1:06.54 and Atkinson the bronze 1:07.81, yet again under the Rio Olympics A standard of 1:07.85. Alia improved her position and time from 2015 where she placed 4th in With less than 100 days to go before the start of the Rio Olympics Atkinson is still in preparation mode for the biggest stage of her aquatic career.
The next wave of CARIFTA region talent continued to make their presence felt as they vie for to make the Olympic team headed to Brazil.
In the D final of the women’s breaststroke Trinidad and Tobago’s Alexandria Donahue (Brown University) and Bahamian Laura Morley (Indiana Aquatics) battled to 2nd and 3rd respectively. Donahue clocked a season best time of 1:12.25. . Morley, who is the fastest Bahamian woman in this event at 1:11.83, was just off that effort with a swim of 1:12.67.
Joining Alia in the making a championship final was Bahamian sprint queen Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace (SwimMac Carolina). The national record holder in the sprint butterfly events improved on her season best time of 1:00.58 when she clocked 59.79 in the morning heats. In the final she did not break the minute barrier again but was able to post her 2nd fastest time of the season when she clocked 1:00.14 for 8th place. Both swims were easily under the Olympic B time of 1:00.80.
Jamaica’s national record holder in the 100 metre butterfly Justin Plaschka (Irish Aquatics) got his long course season underway by making the C final in that event .In the morning he posted a time of 55.72. In the evening he clocked 55.17 to tie Nathan Lile of Garden –Webb University for victory in that final. That was just of his national record of 54.71 and less than a second off the Olympic B standard of 54.19. Justin is the owner of the 5 fastest times ever done by a Jamaican in the event.
National record holder from Aruba, Jordy Groters also earned an evening swim with his 100 breaststroke heats swim of 1:05.30. He was marginally outside that time when he stopped the clock in 1:05.57.
Groters clocked 59.82 for 48th in the 100 metre butterfly. National record holder Alia Atkinson was 36th in the same event in 1:02.70