On the final day of the FINA/airweave Swimming World Cup 2016 in Paris Jamaica’s Alia Atkinson continued to repay the faith shown in her by her sponsors Rainforest Seafoods ,GKMS and National Bakery by winning Gold and Silver and setting three national records to end a very successful outing on the opening leg of the World Cup. Alia said after the first day
“Today is a happy day! I was super proud of myself. My only thought was – bring a medal home” “I first saw that I was first and then the World Record tie. It wasn’t so bad. My confidence is high now”
In her first final on Saturday August 26 the 50 metre breaststroke Atkinson would match strokes with Russian Yulia Efimova and American Katie Meili. Efimova had qualified fastest from the morning heats with the only sub 30 second performance of 29.96. Atkinson and Meili had posted swims of 30.11 and 30.13 respectively. In the final Alia was at her explosive best again from the gun with a reaction time of 0.62. Only Meili was able to match the reaction time. But as it was in the 100 so it would be in the 50 metre race. Alia got to the 25 metre wall first and used her excellent under water work to pull away from the field. Efimova tried to close but Alia did the work early in the race to win. The final time for the win was 29.25. Efimova won the Silver in 29.34 and Meili, the Bronze in 29.75.
The 100 individual medley final saw her battling Hungarian Iron Lady Katinka Hosszu. At the half way point Alia was 5th in 27.62.She put in yet another fantastic back half performance of 30.22 which was the fastest of the field. Alia punched the clock in 57.84 while the Hungarian eked out the victory in 57.63.Emily Seebohm won Bronze in 58.10. That was a new national record for the Jamaican as she lowered her old standard of 58.26 which was set at the Dubai stop in 2014.
In the 50 metre butterfly final Alia finished just outside the medals with a 4th place performance of 26.04. That performance still bettered her national record of 26.27 set at the Hong Kong tour stop in 2014.
In the 100 metre freestyle she had qualified for the final with a time of 56.16. However she scratched the final. That time was yet another national record. The standard bettered was set by Janelle Atkinson of 56.41 set at the US open in 1998.
Atkinson ended the meet with two Gold and two Silver medals and three new national records.
Mehdy Metella was 6th in the 50 metre butterfly in 23.38.