Jamaica’s Alia Atkinson reaffirmed her iconic status in the region and the World with yet another medal at the 14th FINA World Swimming Championships in Hangzhou China. This time she created history in the 100 metre individual medley when she won her second consecutive Bronze medal.
Atkinson made her way to the Championship final with heats and semi finals swims of of 59.69 and 58.20 respectively.
In making the Championship final she would be seeking to break the tie with Trinidad and Tobago’s legendary swimmer George Bovell III as the only swimmers from the CCCAN region to win a medal in the event. Bovell was the pioneer, winning Bronze at the 2012 Championships in a time of 51.66. Atkinson matched this feat in 2016 in Windsor Canada with a Bronze medal of her.
When the gun sounded this morning for the final it was heavy favourite and World record Katinka Hosszu of Hungary and America’s Kathleen Baker that took the race out and were the early leaders after the butterfly and backstroke legs with times of 26.36 and 26.44 . Atkinson trailed badly and was last at the half way mark with her medal hopes seemingly in tatters.
Bestowed with a national award this year on Heroes in October Commander Alia seemingly drew upon the strength of Jamaican national heroine Nanny of the Maroons in the face of such adversity and decided to kick her race into another gear .An excellent pullout from backstroke to breaststroke and Atkinson went to work chasing down her rivals. Clearly the best breaststroke sprinter in the world she gained momentum into the final wall overhauling one rival. Another fantastic turn and she passed a competitor based on the strength of her underwater work. After that she was ticking off the swimmers one by one in the freestyle. The distance to c cover everyone was a bit too much on this occasion and she ran out of water. However she had worked herself onto the podium again to win the Bronze medal in 58.11,a season best and the third fastest time of her career. In her amazing comeback she also created history by swimming the fastest ever second half of the 100 metre individual medley in the 11 editions of 30.20. Gold went to Hosszu in 57.26 and the Silver medal to Runa Iamai in 57.85.
Atkinson would tie with the Katinka for the second most appearances in the this event with four. The record for Championship appearances is held Slovakian legend Martina Moracova. Katinka has not been in a Championship final without Atkinson. Alia now has the regional record for the most medals in the event with two Bronze medals.
Head coach of Team Jamaica Chris Anderson described the race “Alia’s 100 IM she had a great back half. The fastest back half of the meet as far the 100 IM is concerned.Her breaststroke split was great on the thrid 25 and had an amazing last 25.We are really hoping this carries over into tomorrow into the 100 breaststroke and finals.I am really looking forward to great performance”.
The next generation of swimmers who would undoubtedly be inspired her performance in the event Sara Pastrana of Honduras and Alex Maclaren of the Turks and Caicos placed 34th and 38th respectively.
|Turks and Caicos||Alex Maclaren||1:19.83||38th|