Jamaican Atkinson swims to new Games record

MAYAGUEZ, Puerto Rico, CMC – Alia Atkinson set a CAC Games record in the women’s 200 metres breastroke on the first full day of competition yesterday.

The 21-year-old Jamaica swimmer clocked two minutes, 33.64 seconds to qualify for the Final with the fastest time.

Atkinson led a slew of English-speaking Caribbean swimmers that progressed to the Finals in their events from the morning session.

Samantha Rahael of Trinidad & Tobago, and Alicia Lightbourne of the Bahamas will join her in the Final.

Rahael clocked 2 mins, 40.98 secs to finish second in the second heat, and Lightbourne was third in 2:42.18 in the same heat that Atkinson won.

Olympic bronze medallist George Bovell III won his heat to reach the Final of the men’s 100 freestyle, but a sluggish 52.03 meant he was the seventh fastest time going into the Final.

There were also victories in the heats for the Cayman Islands’ brothers Brett and Shaune Fraser, as well as Grenada’s Nicholas Coard.

Brett Fraser finished in 51.29 to win Heat 4, and brother Shaune touched the pads in 50.91 to take Heat 5.

Coard won the first heat in 55 secs flat, but his time was too slow to put him in the final eight, with Brandon Whitehurst of the United States Virgin Islands, and Brad Hamilton of Jamaica advancing from faster heats.

Jamaica’s Victoria Ho finished third in the second heat of the women’s 400 metres freestyle in four minutes, 33.73 seconds.

This was good enough to make her the only English-speaking Caribbean competitor in the Final, squeezing her in with the eighth fastest time.

Similarly, Barbadian Nicky Neckles is the only English-speaking Caribbean competitor in the Final of the men’s 100 backstroke.

He won the first heat in 57.69, which made him the second fastest qualifier in the last eight.

The first set of Finals in the swimming competition was to be contested late yesterday.

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