Jamaica’s Olympic champion swimmer Alia Atkinson is the winner of the 100-meter breaststroke competition at the 2020 Speedo Sectionals Plantation in Florida on the evening of March 6, 2020. Atkinson, 31, swam the distance in 1:09.36, outpacing her competitors by three seconds. That morning, she swam the 100-meters even faster with a time of 1:08.99. Atkinson trains at the South Florida Aquatics Club in Weston, Florida, and is preparing to participate in her fifth Olympic Games, which are scheduled for the summer of 2020 in Tokyo, Japan. In 2012, she finished in fourth place in the 100-meter breaststroke event at the London Olympics.
At age 31, Alia Atkinson was among the older swimmers at the South Florida meet. Also at the competition, for example, was Erika Pelaez, 13, from Eagle Aquatics, who won the 200-meter freestyle with a time of 2:03.88. She is the youngest swimmer to win at the competition to date.
Atkinson was born in St. Andrew Parish in Jamaica in 1995. She competed for Texas A&M University during her college years She is coached by Chris Anderson. She made her first appearance at the Olympics in 2004 when she swam in the 50-meter freestyle event and the 100-meter breaststroke event. In 2008, Atkinson finished in 25th place at the women’s 200-meter breaststroke. In 2007, she carried the Jamaican flag in the opening ceremony of the Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. She set the Jamaican record for the 100-meter butterfly at the 2008 Commonwealth Games. Atkinson qualified for the 2012 Olympics in the 100-meter breaststroke, placing fourth in the finals. In 2014, she won the 100-meter breaststroke at the Short Course World Championship by equaling the record time set by Ruta Meilutytė in 2013. With this victory, she became the first black woman to win a world swimming title. That same year she also medaled at the Commonwealth Games in the 50-meter breaststroke and the 100-meter breaststroke. She set two Commonwealth Games records in these events as well. At the 2016 Olympics, Atkinson was a finalist in the 100-meter breaststroke competition.
Photo source: Alia Atkinson Instagram