On December 11, 1988 Jamaican Olympic swimmer Alia Atkinson was born in St. Andrew. Atkinrson won the 100-meter breaststroke competition in 2014 at the Short Course World Championships in Doha with a time equaling that of the record established by Rūta Meilutytė in 2013. With this victory, Atkinson became the first black woman to win a World Championship title. Also in 2014, she won two medals at the Commonwealth Games: a silver medal in the 50-meter breaststroke and a bronze medal in the 100-meter breaststroke. Atkinson set two records at the Commonwealth Games in the 50-meter breaststroke heats and semifinal race. She is the world record holder in the 50m & 100m breaststroke (short course).
Atkinson began her Olympic career in 2004, competing in the 50-meter freestyle and the 100-meter breaststroke. In 2008, she finished 25th in the women’s 200-meter breaststroke. In 2007, Alia Atkinson carried the Jamaican flag during the Pan American Games opening ceremony in Rio de Janeiro. During that competition, she set the Jamaican record for the 100-meter butterfly. She competed in the 2010 Commonwealth Games as well. At the 2010 NCAA Championships, she swam for Texas A&M and took first place in the 200-meter breaststroke. Atkinson qualified for the 2012 Olympics in the 100-meter women’s breaststroke finals, defeating Tera van Beilen of Canada. She then placed fourth in the finals of the Olympic 100-meter women’s breaststroke in 2012, with a time of 1:06:93. At the 2016 Summer Olympics, Atkinson was in the final of the 100-meter breaststroke. She has been coached by Chris Anderson since 2001 and trains chiefly at the South Florida Aquatic Club in Broward County, Florida. This team is managed by her coach.