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Gerald Hector welcomes Olympian Alia Atkinson to It's Easy Son

Updated: Jun 30, 2023




Jamaican, Alia Atkinson is a four {5} time Olympian and a myth buster. She is the first person of color to achieve a Swimming World Title!


Alia S. Atkinson was born in Jamaica on December 11th, 1988. Her parents knew the importance of swimming as a life skill and ensured that their children were proficient in this skill. {her mother also learning Swimmer, Athlete to swim with their eldest daughter}


December 11th , 1988 At an early age of 3 Alia literally jumped into the pool at her first learn to swim class with coach Matthew at the beginning of her summer St. Andrew, Jamaica break. Within the first week she could tread water and by the end of summer she was swimming across the pool. She quickly transitioned to the Y Speedos Swim Team with her first swim meet at the age of 4. Under the tutelage of coaches Matthew, Teddy, Michael and Lowe, Alia began a successful routine of balancing an academic and athletic lifestyle.


EARLY LIFE

After Vaz Preparatory Alia began representing Jamaica at the Carifta, CISC, CCCAN and CAC Games {all Caribbean related meets}

After high school graduation Alia attended Texas A + M University where she swam her way to numerous school records, BIG 12 crowns and 19 All American citations. As captain in her senior year Alia added a NCAA Title to her many accolades.


Accolades

Carifta-CISC-CCCAN-CAC

100+ medals

World Cup

75+ medals

4x Broke & Tied World Record

Commonwealth Games

2x Silver-50 Breaststroke*

Bronze-100 Breaststroke

*Commonwealth record

Pan-American Games

Silver- 100 Breaststroke

Bronze- 200 Individual Medley

World Championships L.C.

Silver- 50 Breaststroke

Bronze- 100 Breaststroke

Worlds Championships S.C.

3x Gold- 100 Breaststroke*

1X Gold – 50 Breastroker*

*World Record

2x Silver- 50 Breaststroke

2X Bronze- 100 Individual Medley

Olympics (04/08/12/16/20)

5 x Olympian

2 x Finalist

4 th placing Finish 2012


SWIMMING CAREER

At the age of 15 Alia represented Jamaica at her first Olympics Games, Athens 2004, which resulted in a personal best time. During her college years Alia competed at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China, which resulted in a new Jamaican National Record.

After graduation she made a decision to focus all her efforts on swimming until the 2012 London

Olympics, with a commitment of medaling. {which she thought was a stretch due to the fact that she

didn’t even make semi-finals in 2008}. She not only made semi-finals in the 2012 London Olympics but tied for 8 th place going into finals, {a rarity at the Games}. She won the swim-off and just missed what would have been an incredible first medal for Jamaica by placing 4 th . She describes this as “BITTERSWEET”.


Alia’s indomitable spirit – After the 2012 Olympics Games, Alia felt that she had more to offer the sport of swimming and continued her training at the SOFLO Swim Club with Coach Christopher Anderson Jr. During the next four years she broke the Commonwealth Games record, won her first World Championship Title, tied and broke world records several times along with making history as the 1 st person of colour {regardless of gender} to hold a World Record.


She will tell you emphatically that this would not have been possible without her supportive sponsors, coaches and family.


In 2016 Alia made her 2 nd consecutive Olympic final as well as defended her World Championship Title and tied her previous world record {another rarity}


Alia went on to creating WATABOUND, her way of giving back to not only her community, but all

athletes including minorities in the sport that may have a difficult path ahead of them as she did. Doing swim clinics and still swimming, Alia went on to break the 50 short course meter breaststroke world record twice in 2016 and 2018.

After her fifth Olympics Alia looked back on her career and realized she did everything she wanted to do in the sport and was content in retiring at the age of 33.


In addition to her successful swimming career, Alia who graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology as well as a minor in English, writes children’s short stories and is looking forward to them being published as well as her autobiography that deals with her obstacles and challenges throughout her long career and personal tips for young athletes. Alia sits on the World Aquatic Bureau and holds the Chair for the Athlete Committee


She is also the Global Ambassador for Special Olympics and donates to the Jamaica Kidney Kids

foundation. Alia was awarded the order of distinction from the Governor General of Jamaica, and an honorary doctorate from the University of the West Indies.

Now focusing solely on swim clinics through her foundation AAN, WATABOUND is taking new strides to changing the sport of swimming through her experiences and building confidence of one swimmer at a time.


Alia Atkinson OD, LLC


 

It's Easy Son can be viewed on HBCU Smart TV and LinkedIn (@TheHBCUNation)




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