Jamaica’s swimming sensation Alia Atkinson won a gold and a silver on day one of the 2021 UANA Swimming Olympic Qualifier at the National Training Center in Clermont, Florida on Thursday.
Atkinson’s gold medal came in the 50m breaststroke.
The South Florida Aquatics swimmer won in 31.69 seconds, the 10th consecutive victory in the event for the Jamaican on USA soil. Atkinson has not lost a 50m breaststroke race in the USA since May 2016.
Mexico’s national record older Melissa Rodriquez, of Britania Desert Dragons, finished second in 31.83 while Panama’s Emily Santos, of Montverde Aquatic Club, touched the wall third in 32.77.
The women’s 50m butterfly was a battle between Atkinson and Mexico’s Athena Meneses Kovacs. The Mexican got the upper hand with a 27.01 clocking to Atkinson’s 27.03. Both swimmers hold the national record in the event for their respective country with Kovacs holding the Mexican mark at a 26.74 while Atkinson boasts a 26.54 Jamaican record. Jenny Halden clocked 27.20 seconds for third place.
All the medallists were under the World Championships B qualifying time of 27.24.
Two other Jamaicans competed in the race.
Emily MacDonald, representing the Bolles Sharks, just missed her personal best of 28.61 as she placed 10th in 28.65. She set her personal best during the heats at the 2018 Central American and Caribbean Games in Barranquilla, Colombia.
Simone Vale, of Pine Crest Swimming, also achieved a new personal best in the event with a 29.67 clocking for 21st place.
Jamaica’s Sidrell Williams, of Azura Florida Aquatics, returned to action for the first time since the summer of 2019 to clock 25.93 seconds for 28th place in the men’s 50m butterfly.
The race was won by Jorge Iga, who shaved 0.01 seconds off his Mexican record to lower it from 24.01 to 24.00. Iga set the previous mark in 2018 at the Central American and Caribbean Games. Colorado Stars swimmer Kent Olsen-Stavrakas was close behind Iga with a 24.15 for silver while the University of Florida’s Isaac Davis was a 24.18 for bronze.