On Friday April 6 Jamaica’s Alia Atkinson won the Silver medal in the 50 metre breaststroke at the Optus Aquatic Centre in Gold Coast Australia in a time of 30.76. That Silver medal performance places her quite suitably as the best performer at the Commonwealth Games in swimming for the region as she now owns three medals.
That breaks the tie for medals won with legendary freestyle swimmer and countrywoman Olympian Janelle Atkinson, who won two Bronze medals at the 2002 Manchester Games. She also elevates swimming to a close third to boxing in terms of medals by Jamaica by the various sporting disciplines. Athletics leads easily with boxing on seven medals , the last of which was won in 1978. Jamaica now has six swimming medals in total. The first medal won was in the 220 yard breaststroke by W.A McCatty at the inaugural Hamilton Games in 1930 when the island only won two medals to include a Bronze medal in athletics. Netball is the only other sport to have won a medal for the nation at the Games in the last three decades.
Only three other nations have graced the medal podium in swimming Guyana, The Bahamas and Trinidad and Tobago through the Silver medal winning efforts of William P Spence in in the 220 yard breaststroke at the 1938 Sydney Games , Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace in the 50 metre butterfly at the 2014 Glasgow Games and recently Dylan Carter in the same event when the region won back to back medals on April 6.
Atkinson has also distinguished herself by being the only Games record holder from the region with her 30.17 blast in the semi finals of the 50 metre breaststroke race in Glasgow.
Through her consistency and dedication to her craft she has rightfully deserved her place as the best of all time from the CARIFTA region at this quadrennial event.