Two of the world’s best breaststrokers have confirmed participation in the next three legs of the World Cup, which will take place in Moscow, Russia; Dubai, UAE; and Doha, Qatar over the next 11 days.
Beginning Saturday in Moscow, Jamaican Alia Atkinson, a former NCAA Champion, will complete the second cluster of the meet. Atkinson finished 4th at the Olympics in the 100 breast, but has really begun in the last 12 months to show off where she’s really special: in short course. That includes going a textile-best in the 100 breast earlier this year. Expect her to pick up some big points and big money, as she’s versatile enough and good enough underwater to compete beyond just the breaststrokes if she wants to. Atkinson currently sits in a tie for 6th in the 2013 series overall.
The hosts of the Dubai leg, at least, have also confirmed that Yulia Efimova of Russia and Daniel Gyurta of Hungary will also compete at least at their stop of the meet.
One might safely assume that Efimova will compete at least at the Moscow stop in her home country as well. She is the defending World Champion in both the 50 and 200 breaststrokes in long course, and in the process of winning those golds, she twice knocked off a swimmer who had broken the World Record in the semifinals.
In the 200 breaststroke, the great Gyurta has become almost unbeatable on the biggest stages. He’s the defending 200 breaststroke champion at the long course World Championships (x3), Olympics, World Short Course Championships, European Long Course Championships, and European Short Course Championships. That’s about all there is available for a Hungarian swimmer. Gyurta currently sits 3rd in the overall standings through the meet’s first phase; his 84 points are behind only Vlad Morozov (87) and Chad le Clos (128).