World champ Atkinson encourages St. Lucian swimmers to rise above their fears

By April 29, 2019

World champion Alia Atkinson believes there is a lot of swimming talent in the Caribbean but a lack of confidence is holding it back. She hopes to unleash this talent with swimming clinics like the one she hosted in St. Lucia with young swimmers last week Thursday and Friday, April 25 and 26.

More than 30 swimmers attended the Unleashing Greatness clinic that Yasmin Tyson Aquatics Development Officer described as a success.

There were about 18 swimmers in two groups, eight and under to the 13-14 age group, Tyson said. They also added a learn-to-swim component to the clinic that was attended by 19 children from Soufrière.

”This clinic served as a motivating factor for our swimmers. Most of them were in awe that they were actually meeting a World Record holder and Olympian,” she said.

“It is truly amazing to see the interaction with Alia and how she is able to come down to their level. It is going quite well so far we are truly impressed and we won’t hesitate to have her back next year.”

Atkinson said she always knew that there was an abundance of talent in the region but she had little or no idea of how much a lack of confidence was preventing it from blossoming.

“What I didn’t know about was the lack of confidence that a lot of us share. Confidence to be able to do it, to come out of the Caribbean, to be able to compete internationally and get on the world stage as well,” said the Jamaica who won two gold medals at the World Swimming Championships in China last December.

“It is very hard for them at a young age to see that and have the representation. So I was very proactive in building them mentally as well, getting them outside their comfort zone and showing them that with a little more effort they can achieve things that they didn’t think they could before, they can rise up to challenges and obstacles and they can overcome it.”

The 50m short-course breaststroke world-record holder said she encouraged them to overcome their fears.

“Failure is only a stepping stone. It is not something to hinder them, or to lead them down but something to grow in to strengthen their weakness and rise up again,” she said.

“That was what the clinic was about. To be myth busters in their own lives.”

Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

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