Monday, June 15, 2009

A Record Setter in The Water

Have you ever heard of Maritza Correia? Neither had I before last week.

Maritza became the first African-American woman to qualify for the United State's Olympic swimming team in 2004. She is also the first black swimmer in the US to set an American swimming record in both the 100 and 50 meter freestyle at the 2002 Women's NCAA Championships at the age of 21.

Maritza, who was born in Puerto Rico and grew up in Tampa, Florida, was diagnosed with scoliosis at the age of seven. Her doctor suggested that she take up swimming as a way to treat her condition. She joined her high school swim team and went on to become a six time Florida High School State Champion in the 5 different events.

Correia attended the University of Georgia and also joined their swim team, where she was a 27-time All-American, and 11 Time NCAA Champion.

Maritza tried out for the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, but failed to make the team. After dealing with a bout of depression as a result, she did qualify for the 2004 Summer Olympic team.

Currently, the Olympian works with inner-city schools and detention centers to get kids involved in swimming and other sports. She is definitely a good role model for our community.

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