Atkinson makes a splash on return
Jamaica's swimming star, Alia Atkinson captured the 50-metre breaststroke on yesterday's opening day of the FINA/airweave Swimming World Cup in Moscow, Russia, to register her 25th career win in the event, continuing her impressive return to competition.
Atkinson fought off long-time rival and former world record holder, Ruta Meilutyte, to touch the wall in 29.46. Meilutyte was second in 29.51 and Natalia Ivaneeva third in 29.87.
In the 100-metre individual medley,.Atkinson finished fourth in 59.55. She will be in action again today, day two, in the 200 scm breaststroke and 100 scm butterfly.
After a disappointing Olympics last year, Alia took a break at the start of the year to recuperate. Since her return she has set the pool alight, establishing two new national marks in historic fashion.
At the Southern Zone sectional championships last month, she broke her national record in the women's 100 metres butterfly, stopping the clock at 59.94, and in the process became the first Jamaican woman to go under a minute in the event.
expects great things
At last weekend's Florida Gold Coast Senior Championships, she set a new national 100-metre freestyle record, taking the event in 55.35. She also became the first Jamaican female to go sub-56 seconds.
Amateur Swimming Association of Jamaica (ASAJ) president, Handel Lamey, said Alia's rest has apparently paid off and he expects great things from her at the airweave Series. "She indicated from December that she would not compete in the world championships because she needed rest and certain personal things she had outstanding dealt with.. She resumed training three months ago and it's paying off.. she is more focused," Lamey said.
After missing the world championships Atkinson's attention is on the airweaves championship and Lamey said her form suggests she is ready for all challengers.
"Her conditioning is at the point where she will be doing very good times, not only in the fly but the breaststroke. She is showing she is ready and we expect great things as she is in much better shape than last year. She took the time off and was doubtful of the world championships but it has worked well for her, so we expect even more fantastic results and we are hoping she can improve on her already impressive record," Lamey added.