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Athletes

Alia
Atkinson
JamaicaJamaica, JAM
Swimming

Biography

Further Personal Information

Date of birth
11 December 1988
Height
172 cm
Residence
Hollywood, FL, USA
Occupation
Athlete, Coach
Languages
English
Higher education
Psychology - Texas A&M University: College Station, TX, USA

Sport Specific Information

When and where did you begin this sport?
She began swimming at age three.
Why this sport?
"About 75% of Jamaicans did not know how to swim [when I was young], 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."
Club / Team
South Florida Aquatics: United States
Name of coach
Chris Anderson [club]; Gillian Millwood [national]

General Interest

Nicknames
AliAtki (Facebook profile, 20 Oct 2018)
Hobbies
Writing short stories for children. (aliaatkinson.com, 24 Apr 2017)
Injuries
In November 2017 she dislocated her left shoulder while competing at a World Cup event in Beijing, People's Republic of China. She was racing the individual medley at the time of the injury and it reportedly occurred when she was transitioning from backstroke to breaststroke. (jamaicaobserver.com, 19 Nov 2017)
Superstitions / Rituals / Beliefs
Out of the pool she wears a necklace that reminds her of her brother Adi, who died in a plane crash in 2009. (fina.org, 30 Oct 2018)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"Swimming is not only a sport, but a life necessity." (jamaicaobserver.com, 29 Nov 2017)
Awards and honours
In October 2018 she received the Order of Distinction in the Rank of Commander for outstanding representation of Jamaica in the field of swimming. (swimswam.com, 16 Oct 2018)

She was Jamaica's flag bearer at the opening ceremony of the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, QLD, Australia. (gc2018.com, 04 Apr 2018)

She was named the 2014 and 2016 Female Central American and Caribbean Swimmer of the Year in Swimswam.com's Swammy Awards. (swimswam.com, 26 Dec 2016, 17 Dec 2014)

She was named the 2014 and 2017 Jamaican Sportswoman of the Year by the RJR National Sports Foundation. (jamaicaobserver.com, 29 Nov 2017; rjrnewsonline.com, 19 Feb 2018)

She was Jamaica's flag bearer at the opening ceremony of the 2007 Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (jamaicans.com, 08 Aug 2016)

She has been inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in Fort Lauderdale, FL, United States of America. (jamaicans.com, 08 Aug 2016)
Other information
NATIONAL FIRSTS
In 2010 she became the first Jamaican woman to compete in a final at the world championships, following her sixth place finish in the 50m breaststroke at that year's World Short Course Championships in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. She also became the first Jamaican swimmer to win a medal at the world championships when she claimed silver in the 50m breaststroke at the 2012 World Short Course Championships in Istanbul, Turkey. In 2014 she became the first Jamaican swimmer to win a gold medal at the world short course championships when she triumphed in the 100m breaststroke at the 2014 edition in Doha, Qatar. (bbc.co.uk, 07 Dec 2014; jamaica-gleaner.com, 14 Dec 2012, 19 Oct 2011; jis.gov.jm, 31 Jul 2011; SportsDeskOnline, 11 Dec 2018)

WATER SAFETY
She appears in the children's book 'Water Safety for Kids', written and illustrated by Kimberley Peterson. (aliaatkinson.com, 24 Apr 2017; swimvortex.com, 06 Dec 2014)