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Atkinson to go into 'hyperdrive' for Comm Games

Published:Monday | December 11, 2017 | 12:00 AMHubert Lawrence
Atkinson

World Champion breast-stroke swimmer Alia Atkinson is anticipating a very intense period of preparation for the upcoming Commonwealth Games. With the event set for April 2018, Atkinson expects that the first three months of the year will be packed with high-level training. Speaking earlier this week, she revealed a tinge of lingering disappointment with her performances at the 2014 Games.

"The year 2018 would basically be a hyperdrive trying to stuff as many things into three months, because, usually, we're prepped for August and July to do our best," said the three-time Olympian.

Atkinson, who will be conducting a swimming clinic in Kingston this week, explained that big championships are usually held in the summer months. "That's a big push, especially with the Christmas season and everybody being all over the place," she remarked. "So January, February, and March are going to be pretty intense going in," she anticipated.

 

NO WHAT-IF SITUATION

 

At the 2014 Commonwealth Games, Atkinson won a silver medal in the 50m breaststroke and a bronze in the 100m breaststroke. Asked if those disappointments still irk her, she was candid. "You know, it does," she replied thoughtfully. "I will always have the intent to go into a race to win 100 per cent," she asserted, "but I won't put all my hopes as I did in 2014, because when it doesn't happen, it's devastating. So, I will go into the race ready to win it, but if I come second or third or I just do my best, I'm going to have to hold out for that."

The winner of all of her 50m breaststroke races during the 2017 FINA World Cup, the 29-year-old Atkinson is clear about what she needs to do to get ready for next year's Games.

"I will have to set all the things out ahead of time - various training camps and all of that," she figured. "I'd have to set that out before this year ends, so when January comes, there's no 'what if' situation."

Atkinson is hoping to infuse her breaststroke swimming with something she felt in a pair of early-season dips into the 100m freestyle and 100m butterfly. Prior to the start of this year's World Cup, she set national records - 55.35 and 59.94 seconds respectively - in both events.

"When I swam that 100 free and swam that 100 fly and did those great times, there's a certain feeling that the body never knew before, that elation and joy," she wistfully recounted. "I'm trying to see if I can get that into my breaststroke," she said.