Sunday, October 20, 2013

Is this Jamaica's swimming version of Usain Bolt?

(Actually, the comparison might be better to Merlene Ottey, but I figured Bolt would get more attention).

You'd figure that a country that produces one world-class sprinter in track after another might also be able to apply those genetic tendencies to other sprint sports.  But the main difference between track and swimming is that in the case of swimming, you need a decent pool - for track, you need basically a track (and not necessarily a great one at that).   So I've been watching the FINA World Cup, and watched Alia Atkinson blow away the field in the 100 meter (short course) breaststroke at Doha - admittedly, a field that didn't have RÅ«ta MeilutytÄ— in it.   Nonetheless, Atkinson made a run at the world record, with a 1:03.38 (the record is 1:02.36 by Ruta, but Atkinson was close until a late fade).

Turns out that she was fourth in the 100 meter breaststroke in London - just off the podium and thus just out of the headlines.  But she appears to be making a move toward the top of the sport.

And to find a decent pool, she swims in Florida mostly, not Jamaica. 

Oh, and being a long-time fan of the Dune sci-fi trilogy, I've got to be a bit partial toward any woman named Alia.  

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