Jamaica Gleaner / Jamaican swimming sensation Alia Atkinson has returned from her brief sabbatical with a bang, breaking national records and setting historic times for fun. The 28 year Jamaican swimming idol who had a disappointing Olympic Games last year, decided to take a small break from the sport at the start of the year.
However, since making her return about a month ago, Atkinson has set the pool alight, establishing two new national marks, and both in historic fashion.
At the Southern Zone sectional championships in early July, she broke her own national record in the women’s 100m butterfly after stopping the clock at 59.94 seconds, in the process became the first Jamaican woman to go under the one minute barrier in the event.
Then, at the weekend at the Florida Gold Coast Senior Championships, she set a new national 100m freestyle record, after taking the event in 55.35. She also became the first Jamaican female to go sub-56 seconds.
President of the Amateur Swimming Association of Jamaica (ASAJ), Handel Lamey, said Atkinson’s rest is apparently paying off and he expect great things when she turns out for the 2017 FINA/Airweave Swimming World Cup Series starting August 2 in Moscow, Russia.
“She indicated from December that she would not compete in the world championship, because she needed some rest. and to get certain personal things she had outstanding dealt with. She resumed training three months ago and it’s paying off, she is more focused,” he said.
“Her conditioning is at the point where she will be doing very good times, not only in the (butter)fly but also the breast stroke. She is showing that she is ready and we are expecting great things.
“She is in much better shape than she was last year. She took the time off and said she was doubtful of the world championship. It has worked well for her. We expect even more fantastic results and we are looking forward to the Airweave Championships to see exactly where she’s at, but we are hoping she can improve on her already impressive record,” he said.