Alia Atkinson notches more wins at Southern Zone Sectionals

By Sports Desk February 14, 2021

Jamaican Olympian Alia Atkinson continued her winning ways at the multi-site Southern Zone Sectionals that got underway in Coral Springs and Sarasota respectively late last week.

In the 50m butterfly at Coral Springs, Atkinson was in a league of her own as she stopped the clock in 26.61. Second overall went to Olivia Peoples of the Bolles Sharks in Sarasota and Kathryn Giuffdra of Haines City Tritons in Coral Springs who both clocked 27.73.

The time was the Atkinson was under 27 seconds since 2018. It is also her third fastest ever performance and puts her national record of 26.54 in jeopardy.

In the 50m breaststroke Atkinson easily won gold in a time of 31.45.

Second place went to Marcela Scaramuzza of Trinity Prep in 33.10 and Taylor Grabenhorst won bronze in 33.15.

In winning, Atkinson easily demolished her 2021 season-best of 33.47 set last Saturday at Plantation. With her win on Thursday, the national record holder extends her unbeaten streak in the event in America to eight races.

Since 2017, she has turned back all challengers on US soil. She is the only CARIFTA region swimmer to make the World Championship final in the event. She also holds the accolade of being the only medalist in this sprint race.

Meanwhile, national teammate Morgan Cogle, who represents the Jupiter Dragons, lowered her personal best of 33.33 from 2018 in the 50m backstroke crushing it to record 32.67 and place 18th overall.

World Championship representative Keanan Dols who swims for the Gator Swim Club was 21st in the 50-metre butterfly stopping the clock in a time of 26.63.

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  • Record-breaking Alia Atkinson dominates at Florida Gold Coast Senior Championships Record-breaking Alia Atkinson dominates at Florida Gold Coast Senior Championships

    Olympian Alia Atkinson continued in her fantastic form at the 2021 Florida Gold Coast Senior Championships held from March 19-21 in Florida.

    Competing for South Florida Aquatics, Atkinson was at her imperious best winning all three of her individual events to make it 13 victories from 14 starts in 2021.

    Her compatriots, Morgan Cogle of Jupiter Dragons and Simone Vale of Pine Crest Swimming, also competed at the meet with creditable results

    What was outstanding about Atkinson’s swims, was the manner in which she achieved victory.

    In the 100-yard freestyle, she broke ground for herself and Jamaican swimming breaking the national record in the event.

    After cruising to the final as the top seed by virtue of her 50.72 in the preliminary round, she unleashed in the final, taking the first 50 yards in 23.50. She eventually stopped the clock 48.81 winning by more than two seconds.

    She also lowered her previous personal best of 49.64 while breaking the previous record of 49.08 that was set by compatriot, former club teammate and fellow Olympian and friend Natasha Moodie.

    The time also made Atkinson the first Jamaican woman to swim under 49 seconds in the event.

    As it turns out, Atkinson was only just warming up.

    In the 100-yard butterfly, Atkinson lowered her own pool record and Jamaican best of 52.62 to win in 52.01 while showing the field a clean pair of heels winning by almost three seconds.

    She would go on to win the 100-yard breaststroke final by more than three seconds stopping the clock in 58.92 (split time 27.26). The win represented the 10th fastest time of her career and the best she has registered since 2019.

    There would be more trips to top of the podium after splitting 50 yards in 28.09 to propel South Florida Aquatics to victory in the 200-yard medley relay in 1:46.71.

    Cogle swam the opening backstroke leg in 28.47 for her team to finish in 1:51.30.

    In the 200 yard freestyle, the results would be golden for Cogle and her Jupiter Dragons. She split 24.09 to give her team the lead after her second leg.

    Atkinson erased that lead with her third leg split of 23.04. However, the Dragons had too much firepower on the last leg and came back to win 1:37.41 to SFA’s 1:37.59.

    Meanwhile, Cogle continued to achieve personal milestones, the best of which came in the 100-yard backstroke.

    Heading to the senior championships, she held had a personal best time of 1:00.30 in the 100-yard backstroke. She blew that time out of the water clocking 58.89, bettering her previous best by more than a second.

    In the 100-yard freestyle, she lowered her personal best from 53.87 to 52.97.

    She also lowered her previous best in the 50-yard freestyle from 24.92 to 24.76.

    She fell just short of a personal best in the 200-yard freestyle in which she clocked 1:56.69 just shy of her best time of 1:56.42.

    Simone Vale opened her 2021 campaign at this meet and featured in two Championship finals.

    In the 100-yard backstroke, she placed ninth with a time of 59.39. She would also contest the longest backstroke race, the 200-yard event, in which she placed 10th in 2:12.39.

    The South Florida Aquatics Club won the women’s section won with 1013.50 points. Pine Crest was second with 492 points. The Jupiter Dragons were sixth with 273.50 points. The South Florida Aquatics also captured the men and overall titles.

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