Top national swimmer, Alia Atkinson, will be aiming to reach her second final at the XVI Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico when she competes in the women's 100 metres breaststroke at the Scotiabank Aquatic Centre in the north of the city.
Atkinson smashed her own national record twice in one day on the way to a seventh-place finish in the women's 100 metres butterfly final on Saturday night. In the preliminaries she did 1.01.41 to beat the 1.02.40 she set in Rio de Janeiro four years ago. Then in the final she improved her time to 1.01.17.
The preliminaries for the 100 metres breaststroke start at 10.57 this morning with the final set for 7:49 p.m. and Atkinson said on Saturday night that she will give it her best shot.
"I do not know what to expect but I really want to go out there and see where I am ..." she said. Her fitness level appears to be improving. In the 100 metres butterfly Atkinson admitted she was tired in the last five metres in her opening swim but in the final, this improved to the last three metres.
The 22-year-old, who lists the 100m breaststroke as one of her best events, set a national record of 1:09.91 exactly four months ago on June 17, and a repeat of that time should easily get her into the final. She may have to make some improvement, however, to get among the medals. At the 2007 Games in Rio de Janeiro, the event was won in a championship record 1:08.49 by American Michelle McKeehan, Canada's Annamay Pierse was second in 1:08.72 with bronze going to another American, Elizabeth Tinnon, in 1:09.18. Asked on Saturday to list her main rivals here, Atkinson who has been here since September 30 getting fully acclimatised, pointed to the Americans and Canadians.
Meanwhile, yesterday morning, another national record holder, Kendese Nangle, had her first swim but did not get past the preliminaries of the 100 metres backstroke. Nangle placed sixth in heat one in 1.07.47, almost two seconds outside her national mark of 1:05.49. She eventually finished 19th overall. Leading qualifier for the final was American Elizabeth Pelton who won her heat in a championship record 1:01.57.
In squash, national senior champion Chris Binnie, who won his opening singles match on Saturday morning, lost later the same day to American Christopher Gordon in the round of 16. Gordon won 11-7, 11-5, 11-5.
Early yesterday martial artist Nicholas Dusard went down 8-5 to Brazil's Diogo DaSilva in the men's
under 68kg taekwondo while shooter Ronald Brown finished 30 of 34 in qualifying for the men's 10 metres air pistol.
Brown had scores of 89, 89, 93, 93, 93 and 91 for a total of 548. The leading qualifier was American Daryl Szarenski with a Pan American record 583. Only the top eight advanced to the medal round, among them Trinidad and Tobago's Roger Daniel who finished second in qualifying with 577.