BY TONY MORRISON Sunday, November 08, 2015
THE final cluster of meets of the FINA/airweave Swimming World Cup 2015 has proved to be the most competitive. This as it has seen the addition of Olympic gold medallists and elite athletes from aquatic powerhouses such as the United States of America, France, Great Britain and Japan.
|Alia Shanee Atkinson of Jamaica competes to win in the|
women’s 100m breaststroke final during the FINA World
Swimming Cup 2015 on Friday, at the Hamadan Bin
Rashid Sports Complex in Dubai. (PHOTOS: AFP)
The final of the 100-metre breaststroke in Dubai had the promise of a tight battle for the gold. In the final was rising American star Molly Hannis, who had won the 100-metre breaststroke races in Tokyo and Doha, stopping Alia Atkinson's breaststroke sprint-winning streak. Also in the hunt were Denmark's world record holder in the 200-metre breaststroke, Rikke Moeller Pedersen, and the ever dangerous Australian Leiston Pickett.
A rising star from Europe who is tipped to be a medal threat in the Rio 2016 Olympics was Viktoria Gunes. Gunes, who previously represented Ukraine and presently swims for Turkey and had swept the breaststroke events at the World Junior Championships, had won the 200-metre breaststroke in a faster time done at the Senior World Championships.
With the scenario set for a nail-biting finish, all that was needed was for the race to start. Apparently no one told Jamaica's Atkinson the script for the race. When the gun sounded Hannis had a reaction time of 0.64 of a second to Atkinson's 0.67. That was the only advantage the field would have over the three-time Jamaican Olympian. Atkinson made up for the slow first 50 metres in Doha by blasting through the first 50 in Dubai. She covered the distance in 30.55 seconds. That is the same time she won the 50-metre breaststroke final in Doha. It was also faster than her split of 30.91 that she did en route to her national record of 1:6.21.
That blazing opening leg had Atkinson ahead of a quality field by over a second. A special time was on the cards. When Atkinson touched the pads it was a new national record of 1:05.93 minutes. It is the fastest time of the 2015-2016 season, which goes with her season-leading time of 30.55 for the 50-metre breaststroke set three days prior. Second was Hannis in 1:06.60, and bronze went to Gunes in 1:06.96. more