10 facts about Alia Atkinson
History-making Alia Atkinson is leaving behind quite a swimming legacy in Jamaica.
On Saturday, Atkinson became the first Jamaican and the first black woman to win a world swimming title in the women’s 100 breaststroke at the FINA World Short Course Championships.
The 25-year-old beat defending champion Ruta Meilutyte and equalled the world record of 1:02.36.
Digicel SportsMax has rounded up 10 facts about Jamaica’s swimming sensation.
1. Alia Atkinson was born on December 11, 1988.
2. She qualified for her first Olympic Games at 15 years old.
3. Alia has represented Jamaica in three Olympic Games – Athens, Greece in 2004, Beijing, China in 2008 and London, England in 2012.
4. She began swimming at age four at the YMCA in St Andrew, Jamaica.
5. Alia went to Vaz Preparatory School in St Andrew, Jamaica and Flanagan High School in Pembroke Pines, Florida.
6. She attended University of Texas A&M.
7. In 2012, Alia won silver medals at the FINA World Short Course Swimming Championships in Istanbul, Turkey, becoming the first Jamaican swimmer to medal at a global tournament.
8. She was named runner-up for the RJR Sportswoman of the Year award in 2010 and 2012.
9. Alia took home the Jamaica People’s Choice Award in Sports in 2012.
10. She helps to write and promote children’s learn-to-swim picture books as special manager at the International Swimming Hall of Fame in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.