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Atkinson going into breaststroke semis this afternoon

PAUL A REID Observer Writer

Sunday, July 29, 2012 | 10:40 AM    

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LONDON, England — Jamaica’s Alia Atkinson will swim in the first of two semi-finals heats of the women’s 100m breaststroke later this afternoon 7:50pm UK time (1:50pm) after winning her first round heat at the Aquatics centre earlier today. (see our Olympics schedule online)

The 23-year-old Atkinson, who is competing in her third Olympics, swam a National Record 1 minute 07.39 seconds in the first round heats, the first Jamaican swimmer to win a heat at the Olympic Games.

She is also seeking to be the third Jamaican swimmer to make it to a swimming final after Andrew Phillips in the 200m Individual Medley at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles and Janelle Atkinson in the 400m freestyle four years ago in Beijing, China.

A confident Alia told journalists after this morning’s swim, she felt “controlled” and from her fast time, knows she will be able to swim faster to get into Monday night’s final.

“It’s the first time I was in the (world) rankings, I was 17th in the world coming in which is a spot out of the (top) 16 so I knew I had to drop some time and I did enough to come in which is good,” she said.

Atkinson who swam from lane six in the third heat, went off quickly and led the field to the turn in 31.42 seconds before powering home ahead of South Africa’s Suzaan Van Biljoni 1 minute 07.54 seconds and Morocco’s Sara El Bekri —1 minute 08.21 seconds.

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