Atkinson continues to dominate at Piranha Senior Invite

By Sports Desk March 07, 2021

After two days of sunshine, the heavens opened on the third day of the 2021 Piranha Senior Invite in Plantation, Florida, for the finals but it didn’t change the course of Alia Atkinson’s dominance over the proceedings.

Coming off the back of some strong swims on the second night of competition, Atkinson continued her unbeaten run in the 50-metre breaststroke Saturday.

After posting the fastest qualifying time of a sunny morning with a 31.82, the Jamaican darling of the pool went even faster as the rains came, clocking a season-best 31.25 to win the final, bettering the 31.27 she did to win at the Southern Zone Sectional Championships last month.

Second place went to teammate South Florida Aquatics teammate Olivia Dinehart in 33.81 and third to Azura Florida Aquatics Micaela Sierra of Uruguay, who set a new personal best and national record of 34.35.

Atkinson took another decisive victory in 50m butterfly that she won in 26.97. It was the fifth time that she has dipped under 27 seconds for the event. Michaela Chokureva of Phoenix Swimming clocked 28.29 for second place while Atkinson’s teammate Paige Lane was third in 28.51.

On Friday, Atkinson put her national 100-metre butterfly record 59.94 under threat.

The Jamaican Olympian maintained her number-one seed after the morning heats when she clocked 1:01.74. In the Championship final, she surged to an early lead splitting 28.25, coming back in 32.62 to register a winning time of 1:00.87.

It was her best time in the event since the 2018 Central American and Caribbean Games when she won the bronze medal in 1:00.13.  It is also the fourth-fastest time of her South Florida Aquatics career.

Celina Marquez of Azura Florida Aquatics finished second in 1:02.93, not far off her national record of 1:02.33. Third went to Atkinson’s teammate, Maddy Smutny in 1:03.64.

Atkinson would then dominate the 100-metre breaststroke, winning in a season-best time of 1:08.40, a time that beat the field by almost four seconds.

Her best long-course time prior to the race was at the FINA Champions series in January 2020.

No other CARIFTA region swimmer has ever made the Olympic final in this event other than Atkinson, who did it in 2012 and 2016, who has improved her time at each outing so far this season.

Second place went to Paige MacEachern of Pine Crest in 1:12.27 and third to Uruguayan Micaela Sierra in a new national record of 1:12.73.


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