PLANTATION, Florida – Four-time Jamaican Olympian Alia Atkinson won the 100 breaststroke on Friday night (March 6) at the 2020 Speedo Sectionals Plantation in Florida. The 31-year-old swam a 1:09.36 to win by three seconds. She swam a much faster time in the morning at 1:08.99.
Atkinson, who trains in Pembroke Pines at South Florida Aquatic Club, is preparing for her fifth Olympics this summer in Tokyo. She was the fourth-place finisher in the 100 at the 2012 Games in London.
During both 2019 FINA Champion Series meets, Atkinson swam 1:08.15 (Shenzhen) and 1:08.88 (Beijing) in the 100 meters backstroke. Her 2019 best time, however, was a 1:07.06 from the Jinan World Cup, which is 10th on the Speedo World Rankings for the 2019-2020 season.
The outstanding Jamaican swimmer, and three-time Jamaican Sportswoman of the Year, first competed at the 2004 Olympics in the 50 m freestyle and the 100 m breaststroke, and four years later in the 2008 Olympics she finished 25th in the women’s 200-metre breaststroke.
She carried the Jamaican flag at the opening ceremony of the 2007 Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where she set the Jamaican record in the 100-metre butterfly.
She also qualified for the 2012 Olympics 100m women’s breaststroke finals after defeating Canadian rival Tera van Beilen in a head to head race for the final position. She subsequently placed 4th in the finals of the 2012 Olympics 100m women’s breaststroke finishing with a time of 1:06.93.
Atkinson won the 100-metre breaststroke at the 2014 Short Course World Championships in Doha (equaling the record set by Rūta Meilutytė in 2013), becoming the first black woman to win a world swimming title.
At the 2016 Summer Olympics, she reached the final of the 100m breaststroke.
Atkinson has been coached by since 2001 Chris Anderson, manager of .the South Florida Aquatic Club swim team.