Alia Atkinson hopes to roar for new club in International Swimming League

By September 11, 2020

Jamaican Olympian Alia Atkinson believes joining the London Roar for the 2020 season of the International Swimming League (ISL) will allow her to focus on her strengths.

The 31-year-old Atkinson was among 17 new additions to the 2019 finalists, who will be seeking to go one better this year.  

Swimming for Team Iron that finished fifth in the team standings last season, the team called upon Atkinson to swim strokes, which did not allow her to be at her best for the club. However, she did perform well in her preferred breaststroke events winning the 50m breaststroke in Lewisville and the 50m and 100m breaststroke events in Budapest and London.

She is hopeful that this season London Roar will position her to compete in the discipline where she is strongest.

“I am excited to be a part of London Roar. I think this time will be a little different,” she told Sportsmax.TV this week.

“There was a lot of demand on the last team in respect to me going outside the breaststroke events so I think this time I will be able to focus more on my specialities and hopefully we will be able to make it to the finals.”

That said, she was quick to point out that there is no ill will towards Team Iron, for whom she debuted in the ISL.

“Last year was still a fantastic experience and I wish the best for all the teams, especially with the COVID situation going on, but this time I am staying closer to the green and gold,” she said in reference to the London Roar’s team colours.

The London Roar reached the Las Vegas final last season and finished second behind Energy Standard. It returns a lot of key players in season two, including team captain Adam Peaty and big point scorers Cate Campbell and Emma McKeon. The club is composed primarily of the best British and Australian swimmers, including some of the best swimmers based in the two countries, such as Andreas Vazaios and Anna Hopkin.

The Roar lost key pieces in Canadians Yuri Kisil and Finlay Knox to the Toronto Titans as well as Mireia Belmonte, who has jumped ship to Team Iron.

This year, the competition is expected to be even fiercer with the addition of two new teams - Toronto Titans and Tokyo Frog Kings. The organisers have also brought in new rules for the league that is set to get underway on October 16 in Bucharest, Hungary.

Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At SportsMax.tv he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

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    Having to settle for three second-place finishes on Saturday, Alia Atkinson came out Sunday with a vengeance winning the 100m breaststroke in a time just shy of her world record.

    The 31-year-old Olympian won the swim in 1:02.66, just out her world record of 1:02.36 in the semi-finals of the International Swimming League. It was the only time under 1:03 this year and is her fourth fastest time ever in the event.

    As the London Roar make the push for the final, Atkinson stepped to meet the occasion winning by a clear 0.89s over Bennedetta Pilato (1:03.55) of reigning champions Energy Standard and Emily Escobedo of New York Breakers (1:04.31).

    She was also a member of the Roar’s 4x100m medley relay team that clocked 3:46.59 to finish second to Energy Standard’s 3:45.58.

    The win earned Atkinson and her team a valuable 15 points, which she added to the 12.5 points she won on Saturday.

    It was another day of standout performances from the 31-year-old Jamaican who was second to Pilato (28.86) in the 50m breaststroke, touching in a quick 29.30.

    Also on Saturday, Atkinson was seventh in 100m butterfly in a new national record of 57.13, breaking the record of 57.21 set on November 9.

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