Alia Atkinson of Jamaica added to her collection of gold medals at the 2017 FINA/airweave Swimming World Cup, winning a sixth first-place finish on September 30, 2017. On the first day of the Hong Kong portion of the competitive series, Atkinson swam the women’s 100-meter breaststroke in 1:04:09. She finished far ahead of second-place winner Rikke Pederson of Denmark and third-place winner Kierra Smith of Canada. Atkinson is scheduled to compete in the women’s 50-meter and 200-meter breaststroke on October 1,.
Atkinson became the first black woman to win a world swimming title in 2014 with a win in the 100-meter breaststroke competition at the Short Course World Championships in Doha in that year. In that race she equaled the record-breaking time established by Rūta Meilutytė of Lithuania in 2013. In 2010 Alia became the first Jamaican woman to compete in a final at a world championships. In December 2012 she won silver in the 50m breaststroke at the World Short Course Championships in Istanbul, Turkey becoming the first Jamaican swimmer to win a medal at a world championships.
“About 75% of Jamaicans did not know how to swim, so my parents wanted to be the ones to personally break that stereotype and just to make sure their children learned how to swim. So we all learned how to swim. I was the only one that kept on going afterwards. And it just turned into something to do after school.”, said Alia Atkinson when asked how she chose the sport of swimming.
Alia Atkinson awards and honours
- She was named the 2014 and 2016 Female Central American and Caribbean Swimmer of the Year in Swimswam.com’s Swammy Awards.
- She was named the 2014 Jamaican Sportswoman of the Year by the RJR National Sports Foundation.
- She was Jamaica’s flag bearer at the opening ceremony of the 2007 Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
- She has been inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in Florida, United States of America.