SILVER for Alia

GLASGOW, Scotland — When she climbed out of the pool, Alia Atkinson’s trademark ear-to-ear smile was nowhere to be seen.

Instead, her face contorted into a grimace. She had not got what she wanted.

A gold medal in the women’s 50-metre breaststroke was all that occupied her mind going into the decisive race at the Tollcross Swimming Centre at the XX Commonwealth Games yesterday. By her estimation, she underachieved.

She was second best. And many will think she deserved first place.

For silver yesterday, she was relatively pedestrian with 30.67 compared to her games’ record of 30.17 seconds registered in the semi-final, capping an outstanding day in the pool on Thursday. In her heats, she also swam a games’ record of 30.49.

But what could have gone wrong? Atkinson herself is not sure of the answer.

Still, she offered an opinion, fresh from dismounting the medal podium with her shiny silver medal.

“I have been trying to think about that, but for the most part I cannot think of what went wrong. I just guess it was just a slower swim, everything was just slower, the dive, the pull-out, the swim, so I can’t really pinpoint one thing. So I guess it was just not my day,” she told Jamaican journalists.

And at the end of that comment, the old Alia was back, delivering that killer smile.

Even though she pushes herself and sets high standards, and only number is satisfactory in her book these days, she ought be proud of her efforts so far, for she was herded into a mighty field.

The race was won by Leiston Pickett in 30.59, representing Australia, a powerhouse in swimming. The bronze went to Scotland’s Corrie Scott, who posted 30.75.

“I am excited as it’s my first (Commonwealth Games) medal, but looking into it I was a bit disappointed as I was leading with times coming in, and if I did any of those times, I would have won,” said Atkinson, a student at Texas A&M.

Her tone, her body language told its own story. Alia Atkinson intends to go home with what she came to Scotland for. She’s got a thing for gold, and that hunt continues.

“This loss has opened a lion inside,” she said.

“It is what it is and it’s just one of those things. I have to now bounce back and get ready for tomorrow (today)… I have two more races to go and I am looking forward to those,” Atkinson ended.

Her quest for glory resumes today when she breaks the water in heat four of the women’s 200m breaststroke in a morning romp scheduled for 10:58 (4:58 Jamaica time). She will also contest the 100m breaststroke.

Other Jamaicans in the pool today are Dominic Walter (men’s 200m breaststroke), Zara Bailey (women’s 200m breaststroke), Timothy Wynter (men’s 50m backstroke), Trudian Patrick (women’s 50m butterfly) and Jevon Atkinson (men’s 100m freestyle).

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